And then I had to go and ship the worst possible pairing in the Tellius fandom. Nobody writes it. (Well, now they do, but only at my request.)
So anyway. Characterization. This is long. Also, SPOILERS.
There's one assumption I always make in fic about Lehran, whether it involves romance or not: he didn't want certain people to die. Zelgius, Micaiah, Sanaki, and the herons were immune to his DIEDIEDIE dream. In a more passive way he probably regretted children and other innocents who were judged. He's not actually hostile. He has to be the strangest villain I've come across.
Zelgius approached Micaiah during chapter four with an offer to take her to the tower. These are the reasons that come to mind: she's one of Lehran's children, and she was Yune's vessel (may as well save Ashera the trouble of waiting). Sephiran's dialogue with her is regretful; he implies the events of the game might not have happened if they'd found her, and here I wonder if what he really meant is that finding a child Micaiah and making her sing the galdr of release would have saved the world a lot of pain and war. No matter how I turn it over in my head, I don't see how finding Micaiah would have changed his mind about the judgment. Having her on the throne wouldn't change the nature of the senate, or of the prejudice between the races. She could have ended it sooner, is all.
Secondarily, I get from this that he regrets the losses your party members suffered during his wars. He spends a lot of time confessing the terrible things he did (notably to Pelleas and Jill). That little quirk also functions as motivation for the characters to kill him, and we know he wanted to die, but it's not like they needed any help feeling that way since his blood was their ticket to Ashera.
Since the Serenes Massacre played a huge part in his decision to awaken the goddess, I don't think it's arguable that he was interested in preserving the herons that were left. They are his family, also - and apparently unaffected by the judgment.
Sanaki is the hard part. I can't tell what he was thinking. He was being unnecessarily, bluntly honest during the 4-4 battle, so I'm going to assume what he says in those dialogue selections is true. Even so, there are several strikes against him:
1. He lied to her about the Apostolic abilities.
2. He didn't send Zelgius to guard her or bring her to the tower.
3. He didn't attempt to save her from the judgment.
4. The way he asks about her when he gets out of prison, it could simply mean he intends to use her situation to his advantage.
On the other hand:
1. He won't attack her, and I could swear Zelgius's men wouldn't either (or I would have had to start over many more times).
2. Levail seemed not to think he was betraying Sanaki by fighting for him. (Or, was he just fighting for Zelgius? Same applies though.)
3. Sephiran tells Naesala he only helped Kilvas because Sanaki benefited from it.
4. Sanaki had plenty of help in the form of pegasus knights, Ike, Micaiah, and you can interpret the BK's appearance as helping her also.
5. They have that strong battle support thing going even after he betrays her.
6. She's the first person he asks about when he's freed from prison.
7. He sets fire to Begnion to overthrow the senate.
8. He says he loves her
Some of these are pretty black and white - that they won't attack each other, for instance, and that he wants Sanaki to understand and possibly forgive him for what he did, even though he clearly doesn't deserve it. The dialogue straight-up makes me think that. "I have only told you one blatant falsehood. That one lie has weighed heavily on me. It makes me hate myself sometimes ... I'll always care deeply for you, my little Lady Sanaki... You are my sun and my moon. I never wished to harm you. Please... You must understand..." Their conversation while fighting Ashera is hilarious:
Sanaki: You finally made it, Sephiran.
Lehran: Sanaki, I...
Sanaki: I was starting to wonder how I would punish you.
Lehran: I'm sorry?
Sanaki: You are my subordinate, after all. I have decided that leaving one's
empress to die is punishable by drowning in a pool of rancid butter.
Lehran: Of course it is, my empress.
Sanaki: I hope you're a strong swimmer.
... and the only relevance that has is his apparent intent to apologize. I believe Ike is the only other to receive that honor, because Sephiran is a fanboy. (That is so typical! Look at the way he
Anyway, that's the entire problem - some of his actions can be understood two ways. He asks after her safety, but appears to only be concerned as far as the effect on his plans. He incites uprisings against the senate in Sanaki's favor, but these also contribute to the chaos that is supposed to awaken the medallion. He sends Naesala to her, and this could mean he wants to protect her, or simply that getting Kilvas directly involved once again contributes to the cause of awakening the medallion. Ordering Zelgius to side with Daein never actually hurts Sanaki in any way; likewise, sending him to help during the desert chapter doesn't hurt her, but can be understood as helping her if you choose. Sephiran refuses to fight Sanaki, and yet clearly intends for her to be among the judged - with himself, apparently.
I can't decide if the ambiguity is intentional or not. Sephiran's dialogue leans toward the "I love you, and it's for your sake I'm doing this to you" interpretation. I can't tell if he meant for her to reach the goddess, or if he was hoping she'd be taken with the first blast so she would never find out about his betrayal. I think it's clear he regrets that, overdramatics of the dialogue aside.
Either that, or he's a big, fat liar.
That's always possible. It seems to be an interpretation that's gaining popularity. Personally, I think he's one of those types who thinks humanity is slime, but finds it in his heart to like individuals once they prove themselves to be trustworthy. (Or when he raises them from early childhood to embody his ideals!) Reyson seems to share the same opinion, and PoR gave me the impression he didn't really forgive beorc, but just the few individuals who showed they were sincere and honorable.
I think my fangirl interests might be skewing my point of view again. I came up with this while outlining the next arc for 30 Kisses, because the one topic I haven't truly tackled yet is how they could ever face each other again with this hanging between them. He was going to let her die and kill himself, and that's not something you just dismiss. So far, I've glossed over it and implied it was worked out somehow - or ignored it, because I wanted fluff. I guess I can't do that anymore.