During the year 704, Ashe, crowned princess and heir to the Dalmascan throne, weds Rasler, the prince of Nabradia. However, only a week later, her husband dies defending his kingdom. The news is so devastating to Ashe, people believe, that she killed herself. However, she understands that without protection, trouble may befall her. She flees and leads an underground resistance against Archadia, the Empire which annexed Dalmasca and Nabradia. She struggles for two years to restore Dalmasca to its former glory and plans to by nearly any means necessary.
But what is Dalmasca worth to Ashe? Obviously, Dalmasca is her kingdom. She has a regal obligation to defend it, which includes reclaiming her birthright, the throne. She’s also justifiably angry; the Archadian Empire planned an invasion that led to the deaths of her husband and father, disrupting her life. Her spitefulness is due to the circumstances. However she frames it, she considers her revenge more than just moral indignation, but a sense of justice.
Yet, shouldn’t her subjects, and not the kingdom itself, be her subject of moral worth? While Vayne schemes as consul, he desires (in so much as we can tell at first) to help the people. His schemes to become the new Dynast King, and rule according to his ideals. His plan compliment his ambitions, so to the victor, goes the spoils?
Even Vayne’s speech, while more political than earnest, suggests he attempts to do what is right:
Vayne: People of Rabanastre! Is it with hatred you look upon your consul? With hatred, you look upon the Empire?
There was little point in asking. But know this: I harbor no idle hopes of frustrating that hatred. Nor shall I ask your fealty. That is the due of your fallen king, and rightly so. King Raminas loved his people. Strove to bring you peace. He was a rule worthy of your devotion. Even now, he remains among you, protecting you. His ardor for the peace and weal of Dalmasca falters not. I would ask only that you do your king honor. Together, let us embrace the peace His Majesty would surely desire. Two years now divide us from war’s bitter end. Yet still, its shadow looms over all, stifling the infant peace. A pall only you may cast off! Achieve but this one thing… and your hatred of me, and of the Empire, will grieve me not!
I will stand fast. I will endure your hatred, suffer your slings and arrows. I will defend Dalmasca! Here I will pay my debt! I swear it now! Though King Raminas and Lady Ashe be gone, they stand ever at the side of their people. In honoring peace… you do honor to their memory, and to Dalmasca. What I ask, I ask plain. My hopes now rest with you.
Even if Ashe fled for good reason, her absence left a vacuum of power that needed a ruler. Without some semblance of order, wouldn’t Dalmasca fall into worst chaos? If Vayne’s rule can be beneficial for the people, shouldn’t it be good enough for her? Is Ashe’s hatred for Archadia blinding her to the bigger picture?
While Ashe’s hatred does temporarily blind her, she has reason to resist. Vayne’s rule is not good for her subjects. In the short term, the consul provides order. However, to scheme in secrecy presupposes an unjust rule. Ashe knows this. She attempts to regain control of her kingdom to enforce her ideal of moral correctness.
Her journeys prove that she deserves her kingdom. While given every opportunity to abuse the power of the Sun Cryst, she declines. Using this power would betray her ideals and principles. Her ideal and principles are what put her people first. For Ashe, her kingdom is her people. But for Vayne, the people are extensions of his kingdom, and thereby his rule. He only treats them as a means to an end, to acquire more political power. Part of this plan includes fooling the public and gaining their trust.
While kingdoms are not members of the moral community, people are. We should protect them from harm. What else makes us save a kingdom, if not to save at least one human’s life?