Author's Note: Finally, I managed to get my first story up! Of course, it's about Soren. As many of you can guess from my pen name, I am a major Soren fan. I decided to devote an entire story to the many Soren fangirls in Fire Emblem (even though they won't openly admit it). Everyone loves Soren a little bit on the inside, and I intend to prove that point. I hope you enjoy it! Reviews are greatly appreciated, and feel free to add some suggestions too!

Disclaimer: I do not own Fire Emblem or any of its characters … much to my dismay.


Elincia – Loyalty

The queen of Crimea knew that her attention should be focused on the war meeting. Tactics were key to winning a war, as any ruler should know. Strategy was not a matter to be taken lightly. Distractions could not be tolerated in a time so pivotal for her country's well-being. And yet …

Her eyes were resting on the raven-haired strategist next to General Ike at the head of the table. Maps sprawled out in front of him, he rattled off flawless battle plans as if they were simple everyday conversations. Elincia only wished some of Crimea's royal tacticians were as brilliant.

Soren paid no mind to any praise sent his way, dismissing it as he continued strategizing. His intellect awed her; grown men could not outthink this fifteen year old boy. Elincia could only imagine the gold he could earn for his faultless work.

Despite that, he showed little interest in any opportunities offered to him. The Greil Mercenaries seemed to have the only position Soren desired. Elincia knew that Soren didn't interact well in groups of large people, but there was something deeper inside the sage that drove him forward.

Loyalty.

Even in the worst of times, Soren remained by Ike's side when others lost faith. No matter the blunders endured by the group, he never lost hope. The sage was far from the type to inspire those around him with eloquent motivational speeches, but his resilience to help the army did not go unnoticed by Elincia. Crimea needed someone like him, even when the war was over. Soren could prevent catastrophes and war with that cold calculating intelligence admired by all. His brilliance deserved better than the simple mercenary way of life. Elincia did not disrespect the Greil Mercenaries in the least; they had performed wonders for her in the past, and they were behind her once again. But, deep down, the queen knew Soren could far surpass the life of a simple sellsword strategist. Granted, he was different, but different did not always mean bad.

Elincia watched Soren from the very beginning of the war, amazed by what she saw. He was driven by something she could not even begin to comprehend. Magic, strategies, and a plethora of other talents … nothing was beyond his reach. But if she did not act, his tremendous aptitudes would be wasted. The queen knew this was not acceptable.

She approached him one day after a particularly fearsome battle on the borders of Begnion. The blow to their forces was a heavy one, but from a strategic standpoint, the fight had been a success. Several injuries had been sustained, and the usual bustling soldiers seen around the camp were now crammed among several healing tents, awaiting relief for their various wounds.

This was where she found Soren. The sage looked as though he had endured a very exhausting day. His black cloaks were stained with blood that she only hoped was not his. Scrapes and bruises abounded on his skin, blood dripping from an open wound across his forehead. His ashen skin appeared even paler than usual. All of the color was drained from his face, leaving it an unhealthy pasty white.

Despite this, he almost appeared satisfied. His crimson eyes glinted with some sort of accomplishment that Elincia didn't quite understand. He was not smiling, his mouth the familiar grim line as it always was. But the queen had learned to read beneath that frown, and that smug shine in his eyes showed that he was almost content. They'd won the fight, and that seemed to be the only thing that mattered.

What anyone would have to be content about after a gruesome battle like that Elincia did not know. But it was best that he was in pleasant mood for their conversation (at least as pleasant as Soren could be).

"Soren … may we talk?" Elincia asked kindly. He glanced up from wrapping a wound on his leg, examining her with an unreadable expression.

"I suppose." Soren replied dryly, not appearing to be interested in any conversation the queen had to offer.

"Thank you." She pulled up a nearby chair and sat down beside him, her eyes moving to the injury on his leg. "Are you alright?"

"It's nothing. A simple scratch will do me no harm." The laceration was obviously much more than a simple scratch, but she did not pursue the subject. Soren's pride was nothing she wanted to test, despite the severity of the wound. It would heal in time, and the sage did not seem like the type of person to be overly affected by pain.

Her gaze lingered on the injury, and Soren quickly grew irritated by the lack of dialogue. "Did you need something?" He did not even feign polite interest, simply cutting right to the point with his sharp tongue.

She ignored the fact that he did not appear to enjoy her presence. Sensitivity to Soren's comments would do her no good. "I came with a proposition for you, Soren."

He still didn't look up from his task, but Elincia assumed she had his attention. "I'm listening."

"You contributions to our war effort have been irreplaceable. Without your assistance leading our forces, it's hard to say where we would be right now. You've pulled us out of numerous hardships that easily could have lost us the war. With any other tactician, we would not have had as many successful expeditions as—"

"If you're here to pay me compliments, it's not necessary." He cut in. "I do what is required if me. If Ike desires victory for the Laguz Alliance, I will do all I can to make it so. There's nothing for anyone to thank me for."

"That's not why I came to find you." It was slightly unnerving that he would not give her the decency of eye contact, so instead she only looked at the matted ebony hair running down his back. "Soren, when this war is over, I'd like you to come back to Crimea and work as our head strategist. Your wages would be at least tripled, and the Crimean army's battle plans would be specifically designed by you. Quarters and living expenses would be provided by the castle, and you would live in the center of all political activities. The position is sought after by many high ranking officials, but I would be honored if you would accept the offer."

For the first time in their conversation, he met her gaze. Elincia almost thought she saw amusement dancing in Soren's hard scarlet eyes. The sides of his mouth twitched upwards into a smile, but in a split second, it was gone. He averted his gaze again and returned his attention to his wound.

"No, thank you." Was his simple response.

Elincia waited for him to elaborate further, but no more of an explanation came. She blinked, trying to figure out if she'd heard him correctly. "Pardon?"

"I said no. Thank you for the offer, but I'm going to have to pass."

"But … why? Soren, this is one of the highest ranking jobs in the world! No country could possibly offer you a better position. Anything you desire can be yours if you take this job!" she pressed. "Head strategists make more gold in one year than many make in a lifetime! I implore you to reconsider."

"Queen Elincia, I have no interest in your proposition." Soren told her firmly. "I have more important priorities than earning large amounts of gold."

"You wouldn't even have to leave Crimea! Visiting the mercenaries would be very easy. Their headquarters are relatively close to the castle, and—"

"Serving as a royal tactician is not my idea of a satisfying job."

"What's better than serving the country?" Elincia questioned, completely perplexed.

"… I am still repaying a debt that I owe to Ike. Until that debt is fulfilled, I will not leave his side. It's not something I expect a queen to understand, but I have my reasons for refusing. My place is with the Greil Mercenaries, and it will remain so for a long time to come. No position can offer me that which Ike has already given me."

Soren rose from his seat, his leg now fully wrapped. He turned to her for a brief second and gave her a curt bow. "Good day, Queen Elincia." With only a slight limp in his step, he turned and left the tent without a single look back at the confounded queen.

Her eyes remained on the slightly blowing tent flap, part of her expecting him to return and accept the job. No one with any sense would turn down such a prestigious title. Such status was sought after by almost every member of the populace. Commoners would kill to have a rank as fine as head strategist …

But Soren did not return. The tent flap continued blowing in the breeze with no sign of any returning silhouette. Elincia shook her head, still baffled by the rejection he'd shown her. She was almost angry with him for such folly. Head strategists received some of the greatest recognition in history. Yet, the sage who led the Laguz Alliance against the brutal forces of Begnion would be thrown into the shadows and forgotten. She should be fuming at his foolishness …

But Elincia found she was not angry. She was deeply surprised to find herself filled with such great admiration. This boy had turned down fame and glory for a friend. Many knights were not even filled with such devotion. Vassals were not as faithful, and bodyguards weren't as dependable. She was jealous … impressed … awestricken …

General Ike was lucky to have such a companion. Soren may have more negative qualities than she could name, but one positive trait seemed to tower above the others. He possessed something that made him stand above the rest, and her newfound respect for the sage caused her to realize who the real fool was. He'd been right … again.

Elincia left the tent with a smile on her face, and she found herself only thinking one word.

Loyalty.


Thanks so much for reading! Please review! No flames, please, but constructive criticism would be great! I appreciate it!