Lady Ashe disappears six days before her coronation, leaving behind a morass of broken negotiations. Dalmasca rages against this perceived skyborn intervention, but Vaan's unconvinced: the Strahl's getting dustier every day. If Balthier were to rise from the dead it wouldn't be for Ashe.
The dynast's throne can't be left unclaimed, Larsa insists, with Rozzaria twitching eastward; the dynast's throne can't be left unclaimed, Al-Cid declaims, with Archadia making westwards eyes. Vaan agrees in principle, but mostly he stares out the window. He's so close to cracking the Strahl's ignition code. He's not quite sure why Basch bullied him into this stuffy negotiation chamber.
King Raminas had nine legitimate children, Basch explains. The men in this room can understand political marriages: King Raminas also fathered illegitimate children, mostly on the wives of his loyal guard. Seven were acknowledged, five tracked down, but the caliber of only one is known.
Vaan's birth certificate is placed before him: a fragment of surviving shard.
Basch closes the shutters. Vaan snatches the shard, intends to fling it away, only for laughter to choke him.
In the darkness, the glimmer looks like the light of a dying star, seen on a horizon too far away.