Ashe is a very unique character with many different personality traits and interests. In contrast to other characters whose likes and dislikes correspond with their “main” personality trait/quirk, Ashe is a mixed bag with favors of sweets, tales of chivalry, travel journals, looking after children, and violets, and distaste for enclosed spaces, violence, deception... and ghosts. Who is a character in the Blue Lions house who supposedly (idk I saw one professor question during the week and that’s it for the Blue Lions story lol) quite enjoys telling ghost stories? Mercedes herself.
Personally, the Ashe x Mercedes support was nothing to write home about. Ashe teaches Mercedes how to cook spicy food and they call it a day. It’s not like the support is bad by any means, in fact I found it rather wholesome and a happy relief from the serious supports of the other Blue Lions students, but I feel this pairing could have gone a bit deeper. There are no two characters in this game quite like Ashe and Mercedes and it would be interesting to see a more fleshed-out relationship between the two. Additionally, a common complaint made by me and many others is that a lot of the Blue Lions supports are about cooking... I mean there’s nothing wrong with that; there is a literal room in the Monastery dedicated to that as well as the consumption such food... but I digress.
By wallowing in my complaint of what could have been, I have decided to take it upon myself and turn this support from good to great using a certain coincidental detail in their character bios: one’s fear of ghosts, and the other’s joy of them.
Supports in my opinion serve to complete certain tasks, including: fleshing out or at least bringing new information about a character’s backstory (the original support did this by dropping the detail that Ashe’s father used to own a restaurant but I believe it was brought up elsewhere?), where one or both of the characters grow/learn from the other by the end of it, and providing memorable moments and interactions for both characters, basically so that you’d want to watch them again. For example, I never skip the Felix and Annette support because of how colorfully unique and enjoyable it is. As for my new-and-improved support, I have given the basic premise some thought and I have not scripted it out, I might actually do it one day, but no promises lol. You all are free to run with this idea if you want; I’m curious to see your interpretations of the ideas I bring to the table!
Through my interpretation, the support is composed of the typical C-B-A fashion because it helps to avoid bloating the character growth but also Ashe’s tale has 3 acts throughout Mercedes’s and his interactions. Oh yeah, and instead of Mercedes doing the growing this time I feel better for it to be Ashe, as he is still a young child and far more naive/he has more growing to do when compared to the mature Mercedes. She is the “older sister” character, and I feel the “little brother” could learn a thing or two from her. I really want to focus on Ashe’s pursuit of knighthood in this support. I know that his supports, especially with Ingrid, Sylvain, Felix, and to an extent Dimitri and Catherine revolve around this, but I felt I could bring an interesting perspective: knighthood through the concept of bravery. And what better way of learning bravery through facing your fears!
The C support could begin with Mercedes telling a scary story to some unnamed background characters and Ashe happens to be listening in. Ashe, unaware of her taste for the horror genre, thinks Mercedes is telling some silly, tame story as he thinks she is calm, motherly Mercedes. Until he realizes that she is telling something purely bone-chilling and the fear sinks in. He tries his hardest to appear calm as to not offend Mercedes and to not look immature in front of his peers, but he quickly lets slip his mask and the guilt of his attempted deception consumes him. He can’t take it anymore because she tells tale of one of the things he fears most: ghosts. Mercedes notices Ashe but does not point it out and instead discreetly dissolves the story, telling everyone that she “forgot that she had to do something” and “she will finish the tale later so come find her when the time comes” but in truth, she did it to protect Ashe. The other students walk away, and (maybe it’s the black transition screen?) only Ashe and Mercedes are left in the room they were in. Ashe is still traumatized and Mercedes goes to comfort him, to which he makes the mistake of pretending he is fine and he hurries away, ending the support. Leaving Mercedes and maybe she makes a last thought about it?
In the B support, Ashe is determined to “vaccinate” himself with fear (this could have been phrased better lol) in order to show no legitimate fear when it comes time for Mercedes to finish her story. His method is to scour the horror section of the Garreg Mach library and read as much as he can (maybe the equivalents in Fódlan are scary legends and dark tomes idk... I mean he does have a weakness in reason for a ... reason! I’ll excuse myself now... just kidding!) and eventually he will have so much exposure to horror that he will simply be “immune of it”. Ashe is terrified while reading these books and almost jumps out of his seat. Then, Mercedes goes to the horror section to look for inspiration for her stories and goes to pick out a book. She is unaware that Ashe liked these books, as he is known to enjoy heroic legends rather than stories about ghosts. Mercedes starts to gush over her favorite scary stories and points out the one Ashe is reading to be one of her favorites, describing it in an ominous way. Ashe still pretends to act calm in the situation, and decides to spin the conversation back to Mercedes and he asks her why it is that she enjoys this genre so much. She drops details about her backstory and the origin of this personality trait, maybe she told them to Emile, maybe she originally was afraid of them too but found beauty, excitement, and creativity in the horror genre, maybe how she worked out the other fears in her life, (I haven’t worked it out yet). But what she does say is that she learned to acknowledge her fears instead of running away from them and that’s how she was able to grow. Ashe finds her story to be inspiring and Mercedes leaves. He ponders on the book he is reading and his method for being rid of this fear... and the support ends.
Finally, in the A support, Mercedes finishes her story and to her surprise there is a fearless Ashe clinging on to every word. He is still scared, but is noticeably less traumatized than he was in the C support. (Also it’s a bit silly that the story ends after 5 years? Really? But hey, the timeskip-A-support-lock also implies Annette and Mercedes had a fight for more than 5 years? T-T Or she could just tell a new one idk). The story ends and the genetics dissolve leaving the pair yet again. Ashe praises Mercedes’s story but establishes how calm he was when she told it. Mercedes accepts the praise but then Ashe can’t take the guilt of lying to her anymore and confesses how he pretended to act unafraid in order to impress everyone but also to not make Mercedes feel bad. Mercedes replies with a simple “I know” adhering to her trait of extreme emotional understanding and confirms that she would not be offended by his fear but rather pleasantly surprised because that is the purpose of the horror story. Mercedes asks why he was so afraid of ghosts and the horror story to begin with, to which Ashe drops bits about his backstory: again, I’m not sure what this may be, but it left him with an extreme fear of ghosts/enclosed spaces and the horror genre in general. Then Ashe brings up Mercedes’s advice and he tells her he will apply her advice in the future... and I’m not sure how to end the support! I’ll leave that to all of you!
Anyway, if you made it this far, I want to thank you for reading it, I hope you had just as much fun reading it as I did writing it! Feel free to write your thoughts below, I am curious of what you all will think of it!