Title: Never Say Die
Game: Fire Emblem 9/10
Word Count: 1,083
Pairings/Characters: Soren, Ike, Micaiah, Sothe, mentions of various others
Warnings: Nothing
Beta: Forgotten-Relic
Spoilers: General Spoilers for Part Three, Chapter Thirteen
Summary: Soren muses Daein's continuing drive to fight and their refusal to surrender.
Author's Notes: Written for FE_Contest on LJ, challenge 003, Yield. I had a couple of different ideas for this particular challenge. One was a humorous piece about Elincia giving into some rather unprincess-like conduct, the other was this. I ended up submitting "Unprincess-like Conduct" for the actual challenge, but I liked this one enough to keep it from fanfic purgatory (i.e. languishing on my hard-drive, never to see the light of teh interwebz). I decided that Soren's thoughts on Micaiah's actions would be an interesting take on the theme, as he makes it absolutely no secret that he thinks that she is more or less insane for her insistence to keep fighting.

What was it about a hopeless situation that made someone resist yielding to the superior power? Surely by surrendering, pointless deaths could be avoided. Pain and suffering would be nonexistent.

That, of course, was if everything was ideal.

The conditions at Fort Nox were not ideal.

Soren stood patiently by Ike's side, his crimson eyes darting around the battlefield, watching as the pitiful Daein army tried to hold off the onslaught of laguz soldiers. He had to grudgingly give Daein's Maiden of Dawn credit; she was cool and composed as she directed her troops.

"Why do they still fight?" Ike murmured absently. Soren wasn't sure if Ike meant to say that aloud, but he decided to answer anyway.

"Why did Crimea still fight when the Daein army outclassed them in every way?" Soren replied. "I suppose it's in human nature to fight until you can fight no longer."

Ike turned to his friend with a frown. "Did I say something?"

"You asked why they were still fighting," Soren replied. "I answered with a question of my own. Why did you lead Crimea's army when they were outclassed by Daein? By all accounts, we were fighting a futile battle back then. Now roles appear to be reversed."

Ike returned his attention to the ongoing battle. A wave of cats and tigers crashed upon the fragile line, beaten back by a few tenacious souls who didn't seem to understand the concept of yielding. Behind him, Soren sighed.

Odd that Daein, once so powerful, was now struggling to survive much as Crimea had three years before.

"Do you think that giving up would be easy?" Ike murmured.

Soren snorted. "Physically? Always. Emotionally? Never."

"I could try talking to her," Ike said as he shifted his weight from one foot to the other.

"I doubt she would listen to us, though Rafiel and Nailah might have better luck," Soren replied with a bored yawn. "Of course, the last I had heard, she was absolutely convinced that she had to keep fighting."

Before Ike could reply, Ranulf arrived and informed him that the preparations were complete. Soren then indicated that Ike advance upon Micaiah's position, as most of the laguz had already cut a path to her, and that it was being maintained by the Greil Mercenaries.

Ike charged up the center of the fortress with Soren and Ranulf at his back. Soren looked ahead and noticed that the Maiden of Dawn tightened her grip on the tome she held to her breast, but her face remained set. She refused to yield to their mere presence alone. She was bold, perhaps to the point of idiocy. She could spare the lives of her men, those that she claimed to be protecting, by surrendering. The Apostle's army had no quarrel with Daein, and would leave them in peace to continue to Sienne.

A few foolish Daein soldiers attempted to take on Ike directly and were immediately cut down by Ragnell. Soren turned his attention to keeping the path ahead clear by casting wind spells to deter further suicidal attacks. It took a short amount of time to reach the second to top platform, where Micaiah stood on the ledge above them.

Sothe stepped between Ike and Micaiah, knife at the ready. "Commander," he said, his voice cracking slightly.

"Sothe," Ike replied, gripping the hilt of the Ragnell tighter.

"Sothe, stand down," Micaiah commanded, causing nearly everyone on the battlefield to stop what they were doing so they could gawk at her.

"But Micaiah," Sothe started, but he felt silent when Micaiah held up her hand.

"No, as the general of this army it is my duty, my responsibility, to face General Ike in battle," she said.

"Lady Micaiah!" several soldiers gasped in shock.

"Everyone, please!" she snapped. "I am the general of this army and what I say still stands. No one takes on General Ike but me."

"Micaiah, that's suicide!" Sothe hissed.

"Which is why I alone will face him," she replied calmly.

Ike swallowed and Soren glared at the girl. What was she thinking? She was a slight creature, barely up to Ike's shoulder in height. She lacked any of the musculature that Jill or Titania had, which was perhaps to be expected of a mage. Of course Ike would have reservations about attacking her, even if he claimed that he would have no mercy upon anyone who chose to face him as an enemy.

"We can talk about this," Ike pleaded. Behind him, Soren rolled his eyes. Of course he was going to try and avoid fighting with her.

"We cannot," she replied.

"I know you don't want to fight this battle," Ike implored her. "Please, let me, let us help you."

She scoffed. "Why would you want to help us?" she demanded. "After what we've done? After what I've done?"

"Just talk to me, Micaiah," Ike said, pulling out the big brother voice that he used to bring the younger members of his army into line.

She shook her head. "I cannot. There is no way you can possibly understand why we fight."

"Perhaps, but I don't want you to die," Ike said. Somehow, despite how long he had known Ike, Soren was still floored by that statement. "There has to be something I can do!"

A faraway expression crossed Micaiah's face before she blinked and returned it to its former stoic expression. "I see…I understand now."

Ike harrumphed. "Understand what?"

"Why Sothe speaks so highly of you," she answered with a sad smile. "You truly are a good man. I'm glad he had the opportunity to meet you."

At that point, the aforementioned men both colored ever so slightly.

"However, my king has ordered that I fight against you, and so I shall," she continued.

Soren, who prided himself on the fact that he had ice in his veins and could always remain cold and in control, wanted to scream at the girl. Didn't she know that she was marching needlessly to her own death?

Of course, Soren was in complete control of his emotions, but Daein's soldiers were not. Several shouts for Micaiah to stand down and leave the fighting to them were heard, but she didn't listen. "Stupid, foolish girl," Soren muttered.

Ike sighed as he set his jaw. "Fine. Have it your way," he said as he readied the Ragnell. In front of him, Micaiah opened her tome.

Soren closed his eyes and looked away. Why didn't anyone know when yield?

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