Fool of Fools
Gangrel's fingers drummed against the arm of his throne for the thousandth time as he glared at the message in front of him.
Not on your life.
Sighing, the king swept away the offending letter – imagine, sending twelve pieces of paper wrapped up in a parcel to get a man all excited and then having such a short message on the first, leaving the rest blank – and sank back, groaning. He really needed Aversa to come back, he hadn't realized what a mess he'd made of his country during his temporary revenge-hungry madness.
Validar hadn't been much help, either. In fact, Gangrel took some solace that his council of back-stabbing viziers and minor nobles admitted that at the very least he wasn't as bad as Validar was at keeping the nation running.
"Score one for the Mad King." He chuckled to himself with a wry grin, glancing around the empty room. The irony of how the back-stabbing woman was the one thing that kept the country running. Unfortunately, he'd need a mind of her caliber to even get it back into something vaguely resembling a united province, because at the moment every village seemed to have their own government.
There were no other minds of her caliber...although there was one better in every respect. Although that wasn't an option, the woman had made it very clear she didn't want anything to do with him. Still, it was her birthright, and it's not like Chrom didn't have enough other minds...maybe he could convince her that it's the only way to avoid civil war.
Maybe. Well, it was worth a shot. What's the worst that could happen? After all, he'd already died once.
He picked up the eleven blank pieces of paper that had come with Aversa's reply – really, how rude - and started to write.
"Alysa, there's mail for you."
The tactician blinked awake, looked Frederick in the face for a few seconds, and processed where she was.
"Get the hell out of my room?"
"Of course, milady."
The knight retreated hastily, leaving the large stack of paper on her bedside table. The woman groaned, pulling her light blue hair behind her ears and lighting a candle.
"Gods, what time is it?" She muttered, glancing out the window to see the moon still high in the sky. "...does the man ever sleep?"
Probably not, she decided. One of these days, Cordelia was going to kill him, and she wouldn't be surprised.
What could surprise her, however, was the incredibly distinctive handwriting that started the letter. Alysa dropped the papers in shock, and briefly considered throwing them into a fire. Realizing that she probably wasn't getting any sleep anyway, she decided to just read the damn thing.
This is probably the last thing you wanted to see, so I won't bother with the pleasantries. I need you to come to Plegia and help me rule.
Alysa blinked, rereading that last sentence.
Come to Plegia and help me rule.
Help me rule.
Alysa gave a disbelieving snort that rapidly evolved into full-out laughter. She briefly skimmed the next few pages, and her laughter eventually gave way to a concerned frown. While she wouldn't exactly count the Mad King among her friends, he had served alongside them in the final battle against Grima – he had even saved her life during their confrontations at the Wellspring of Truth. It was quite shocking, in fact, to see the old Gangrel – all cruel laughter and crazed smiles – fight this new Gangrel, full of melancholy and regret. Despite the differences that had been made amazingly clear during that battle, none of the Shepherds truly believed the man had changed that much, although Emmeryn had forgiven him. Alysa suspected that was more Emmeryn's nature more than anything else, however.
Flashing forwards to now, and Gangrel had sent them a report of his nation's status that was worse than anything the court could have imagined, and they'd imagined some pretty far-end situations. Alysa groaned, realizing what she had to do at this point, no matter how little she liked the idea.
"...I hate the desert." She grumbled, stuffing the letter aside and pulling the blanket back over her shoulders. She'd have to bring this up at the small council tomorrow, although if she knew Chrom in the slightest at this point he'd probably say -
- yes, that seemed about right. Alysa sighed, brushing her bang away from her left eye so she could glare Chrom full in the face.
"There's no other options. Chrom, if what Gangrel has said about Plegia is even remotely true, he needs me."
"He doesn't need you, he needs your mind." Lon'qu rumbled, disturbed by the message. "He wouldn't appreciate you for anything else."
"My mind might be the only thing that could save that entire nation from plummeting into recession and civil war." Alysa shot back angrily. "At the very least, let me advise him!"
"Ylisse needs repair too." Chrom protested weakly, trying to find some ground to face her on. "If you leave, who's supposed to help it grow?"
"Chrom, Ylisse is stable." Alysa said with a frown. "A trade relationship with only one nation – a nation whose ruler may change at any time – isn't enough for it to grow. We need a stable second partner if we're to have any chance of becoming more than we were at the start of the first war."
It was amazing how quickly Alysa had changed to referring to Ylisse as 'we' and 'us' instead of 'you'. Chrom sighed, sinking back in his chair and rubbing his forehead.
"Gods, why do I even try to argue with you? You're worse than Sumia sometimes." He groaned, closing his eyes. "...will you at least take an escort with you?"
"Chrom, I'm generous, not stupid." Alysa said with a small smile. "I'll be taking Stahl, Sully, Kjelle and Laurent with me."
"Good, I suppose you should tell them." Frederick said with a nod, approving of her choices. "Now, I shall go tell them to prepare."
At that moment, Sully stuck her head through the door. "What the hell is taking you so long? We've been waiting to go for the last damn hour now!"
Chrom stared at Alysa, who smiled sweetly at him. "I knew you'd say yes."
Chrom massaged his temples in submission, sighing. "...sometimes I think you know me better than my wife does, Alysa. That scares me." He said truthfully. "Write to us every week or we'll assume something bad has happened and invade."
Alysa nodded in confirmation, saluted, and walked out of the room. Frederick glanced at her retreating back, frowning.
"She's changed." He said bluntly as soon as the woman was gone. Chrom nodded in agreement.
"Morgan's death was hard on her." He said bluntly, leaning back in his chair. "She never did find his father, either."
"Hm." Frederick said with a sigh. "You don't suppose this might be an attempt to distract herself from it?"
"Frederick...everything Alysa does these days is an attempt to distract herself from his death." Chrom rose from his chair. "Council adjourned, we all have other duties."
A/N: Okay, explanation: What was meant to be a reward one-shot quickly seemed to evolve into something much more than that. Writing M!MU for months on end made me curious as to trying my hand at a F!MU, and Asleep (Which I really need to update at this point) has entered the stage of 'Intense Advance Planning' to make sure I don't cock up and miss a plot point. Which means going back over previous chapters with a fine comb to check that I'm not going to plot hole myself because I threw in a line that I though was funny that doesn't fit with the current plot arc.
Also, I needed to write something darker after the teeth-rotting sweetness of the Time Matters Not wedding arc. Speaking of, if anyone's got any ideas for a chapter they want to see in there, drop me a line - I'm running short but don't want to stop the fic. I could do with a buffer of plot ideas.