Disclaimer: I herby say that I don't own these characters

Warning: This has been done a thousand times. I felt like doing it myself.

Extra Warning: Best if read after "Light and Anima"

Final Note: Can be read by itself

"My lord Ike, is there something the matter?" Elincia asked as she came up to the blue haired general. He was pulling at his blue cloak while pacing fretfully.

"Oh, Princess Elincia," Ike said as he turned to look at her, "There's nothing much bothering me. Why do you ask?"

"Well, it's because, you've been pacing for the last hour. Lady Titania is afraid that you'll hurt yourself. I'm more concerned about you catching ill."

Ike couldn't help but chuckle at the comment. His breath condensed into vapor in the chilly, snow-burdened air. "Oh. I see."

"So what is on your mind, my lord Ike?"

"It's probably nothing." Ike said as he walked over to his tent. "Come on, let's get out of this cold."

"Of course." The princess of Crimea said as she followed the general of her army. Ike offered her a seat and she took it. He sat down in another chair.

"So, what is bothering you?"

"Well, it's Soren, Princess." Ike looked at his knees, "I know that he's usually antisocial and perhaps a little mean, but he's never behaved like this before. He won't talk to me anymore unless he has to, and he's always looking upset. Rhys says that Soren isn't ill, or injured, so it has to be something else."

"Do you have any idea what it is, my lord Ike?"

"No. But he's been like this since Begnion, and he's only gotten worse. I wish that I could find out what was bothering him."

"Perhaps you could ask Lord Soren what's the matter?"

"I don't think that he'd really be willing to tell me. Even though he's been my friend for as long as I can remember." Ike groaned as he leaned forward. He was general of an army and he couldn't even get his tactical advisor to talk to him.

"Then you should talk to him if something truly is upsetting him, my lord Ike. I'm sure he wouldn't tell another soul."

"You're right. Thanks, Princess."

Elincia smiled at him and stood to leave. "I should be going, there are matters that I need to attend to."

"Right, right." Ike said and walked over to the flap that made his door. He held it open for her and then walked out himself to set off to find Soren. To his surprise, Soren walked right past him, seemingly frustrated.

Curses. Of all the times he needed to talk to Ike. She was there. But of course she was. Ever since his being named general, Ike and Elincia had gotten closer. There were times where Soren believed that Elincia was going to be forced onto the battlefield simply because she wouldn't leave Ike alone beforehand. Soren had felt like Ike was beginning to ignore him in light of the Princess. Whenever Soren bothered talking to Ike, the general would simply end the conversation with comments of concern over the Princess.

But he needed to tell Ike something. He needed to tell Ike that he believed Nasir to be a traitor. The old shipmaster was suspicious. And he had to tell the general before it was too late. However, to his dismay but not surprise, Soren found that Ike was engaged in conversation with the princess. He heard the tones of her voice and heard Ike groan after replying to whatever it was that she had said.

The young mage stood there for a few seconds, trying to decide what to do. Should he wait until she was gone to reveal this information to Ike or just enter and announce what he wanted to say? Tact was never one of his stronger points; he much preferred logic since it didn't have messy emotional responses to deal with. But he was, for once, getting tired of hearing complaints every time he opened his mouth about the issue. Soren decided that he would wait to tell Ike this.

But after a while of silence, Soren guessed that she wouldn't make her leave anytime soon and turned towards the wind, shaking some of the snow off his robes. The gusts caught a piece of paper that he was carrying. Soren frowned and chased after the paper. Once it was caught he had to retrace his steps and walk past Ike's tent again. This time he hurried past, not even noticing that the flap was open and Ike was standing outside his now vacant tent.

The general couldn't help but wonder what was bothering his friend. The blue haired lord followed Soren wherever he was going. Ike followed Soren to his tent. The tactician, who had an uncanny sense for being followed, had not noticed him at all. Which only deepened the cause for his concern. Ike walked over to the door, debating how to handle this. Usually Mist or Rhys took care of morale problems.

There was always his approach.

"Soren." Ike said as he walked into the room. The mage looked up at him and then back at the parchment spread out before him. Soren merely closed the inkpot and placed the quill that had been hovering over the black pool on top of the desk. Ike was surprised to see how fast Soren had gotten to work.

"Do you have a second, Soren?"

"What is it, Ike?" Soren said quietly and gestured to a chair. Ike flipped the chair and sat backwards in it. Ike only sat like that when he wanted to discuss something important or something that was bothering him.

"What's wrong?" Ike said and watched as Soren showed some form of confusion and then clarified his question, "You've been quiet and moody for days. What's going on?"

Soren thought about excusing his mood off on Nasir. But he knew, he knew, that Ike wouldn't believe it. Soren knew, he knew, what Ike meant. He was so taken aback that the man had noticed that he stuttered for a moment, "...well it's..." Soren stopped himself after the second word. He couldn't explain it to Ike. Not ever. Never.

"Yes?" Ike pressed.

"It's nothing." Soren said, shaking his head violently, pain was torturing his eyes. He subdued the monsters within him and finally looked at Ike again. Soren saw in Ike's eyes that the general did not believe him. At all. Soren hung his head, he'd have to tell Ike a little of it. But not all of it. Never all of it. "You've never worried about who you are, have you? Your family? Where you came from?"

Ike blinked in shock a few times. He had never expected those questions from Soren, whom was always filled with purpose, and definitely not his defeated tone. "Who I am?" Ike muttered the words, as if saying them for the first time. "Well, not really. No." Ike scrutinized Soren. Soren looked at him, alarmed. He was afraid that his question had angered the lord.

"I guess I don't understand what you're getting at. I had a father and a mother. I don't remember much about her, but otherwise, no complaints."

"It must be," Soren paused, searching for the right word, "nice to have loving parents. You need people to experience your childhood. To help shape the person you will become. Without an adult around to affirm and support them, a child can't know which path to take. Or who he really is." Soren closed his eyes at this and spoke barely over a whisper.

"Don't you have any memory of your parents?" Ike tilted his chair to try and comfort Soren with a hand on his shoulder, like he had seen Rhys do so many times. Ike could see the deflation in his attitude. However, the mage backed away and Ike nearly fell over.

"No. The woman who raised me was not my birth mother. And she wasn't all that fond of me, anyway." Soren took a shuddering breath, trying to stop what he was saying, but found himself incapable. So he continued, "My earliest memories are of her saying, "Why me? The world isn't fair!" or "Stay away from me, child!" No love. No affection. She took care of me out of some sense of duty that she didn't really possess."

Ike found himself unable to think of something to say while Soren shivered in his chair. The mage was thin, and the horrible memories couldn't help his situation. The temperature was dropping rapidly, going beyond what even he could tolerate for long. Instead of saying something, he got up and looked around for a spare blanket. Soren didn't seem to notice.

"When I was about four, a nearby sage came by and asked to take me in. He said I possessed rare magical talent. I remember the day clearly. My caretaker was delighted to give me up. In fact, she seemed almost delirious with pleasure. Smiling like a madwoman as she handed me over." At this point Soren laughed, out of irony and spite it seemed to Ike. "The sage even gave her gold as compensation. Not that it was necessary."

Ike's eyes widened, he turned his attention from the few belongings that Soren had to the mage himself. "Soren," Ike paused, fumbling for something to say. Anything. "I had no idea." He felt horrible for all the times he had ever agreed with the others' harsh comments on the mage.

Soren continued on in spite of Ike's gathering guilt. "The sage was old, and knew that death would soon come for him. His only goal was to teach his art to an apprentice. As time was short, he put me through terribly rigorous magic training. We worked day and night, without cease. I didn't even have time to think about who I really was. But it was still a better life than I had ever known. When the sage died two years later, I had acquired much magical skill. Perhaps too much for a child of my age." Soren seemed to consider his own statement and then shook his head, "At any rate, once I had eaten all of the food in the sage's hovel, I left and walked for days to find help. Upon reaching civilization, I came to another grim realization." Soren bit his lip and then told Ike what he already should know, "I couldn't speak. Not a word."

"Soren," Ike barely found voice to say and trailed off. He got the impression that Soren wasn't done.

Soren mistook Ike's tone for one of condescending. "Oh, I could read and write better than most of the villagers. And I could understand what they said. I just couldn't talk. I couldn't help it. The woman and the sage both used to hurl words at me. Unkind words, usually. But I never needed to answer, so-"

"Soren!" Ike wanted to stop Soren from continuing on until he found a blanket. If Soren shivered anymore, he might kill himself. And he needed a way to warm up. Ike could see that Soren's lips were turning a pale shade of blue. As soon as Soren looked up at Ike again after staring at the frozen ground for so long, the trembling stopped.

At first he seemed confused but then he seemed to regain some form of logic. "Oh. I apologize, Ike. I should not have made you listen to such nonsense..." Soren trailed off. He had said more then he had meant to. But he wanted to tell Ike so much more. So much much more then he already had.

"Soren, it's no nonsense! It's awful! It's the most terrible thing I've ever heard! Where did this happen? Was it in Begnion?" He had never thought that any of this had ever happened to his friend. He hadn't even the faintest idea that it could have happened. But it had. So he moved over to Soren, trying to think of a way to comfort him. Now he saw the pain welled behind the other's eyes. Ike tried to correlate the fact that he had been like this since Begnion and what had happened to him.

Soren shook his head. "No." He paused. He wanted Ike to know. He wanted to tell him this so badly, "But, there's more. I haven't told you," He again stopped, debating whether he should or not, but again having his desire to have someone, anyone, know win out, "About my parents." Soren stopped, controlling his emotions and composing his features, masking the pain he felt, and the wild confusion. The mage stood and started to leave, "No, that's enough. I'm sorry." He apologized again and left, "Excuse me..."

This information about Nasir would have to wait.

Ike ran out of the tent. "Wait. Soren?" He looked around wildly for the mage, "Soren!" Ike called out, a giant cloud of mist forming from his mouth. "Blast!" Ike exclaimed and closed the tent, walking off to his but then changed his path. Soren needed a blanket. He didn't even have any sheets. The cold would kill him.