I’ve long believed that Gabranth is XII’s master of fleeting expressions. How I failed to notice this before is beyond me.
During his charade, Gabranth is expected to perfectly imitate Basch. More importantly, he has to convey to a dying soldier that Captain Basch fon Ronsenburg is a traitorous kingslayer. One wouldn’t expect a coldblooded murderer to look back at the young man whom he just ran through with a knife, but Gabranth does exactly that. It’s rather “out of character”, considering he’s supposed to be a perfectly stoic Basch. He remains seemingly emotionless while he stabs Reks, but there’s something different about the way he looks at Reks. This is the only instance in which Gabranth falters. It’s not even a noticeable slip-up. Reks falls to the ground and no one is any the wiser.
That being said, I feel like that little glance connects back to a much larger picture. Much of the entire opening infiltration scene contains very subtle references to the fall of Landis. In many ways, Reks reminds Basch of himself when he was seventeen. Basch and Noah were seventeen years old when Landis fell, and it has been seventeen years since then.
Though evidence leads us to believe that Vayne Solidor prepared extensively for the assassination that would occur after the Battle of Nalbina, there’s no way Gabranth ever expected that one of his targets would be this particular seventeen-year-old Dalmascan boy. That being said, Gabranth’s surreptitious glance seems to be a sign that he recognizes the similarities between Reks and Basch. He might not know exactly how old Reks is or what he fights for, but I’m almost positive that there’s a reason as to why he forgets to be Basch for only a few seconds.
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