Super-skilled Harmonian spy, at your service;

Nash Latkje is something of an enigma. It's almost as if he meant for the two Suikogaiden games, starring the swordsman of Harmonia himself, to be available only in Japan. Then you remember that he rather likes playing the hero.

That said, Nash is one of the prime returning characters for this edition of Suikoden. He shows up in Iskay right before it's attacked. It's clear he knows something. But he takes this opportunity to make a pass at the captain of the Zexen Knights. Introducing himself as "Nash Clovis," he speaks on a variety of subjects, all inconsequential, before the Grasslanders arrive and the village goes up in flames. He offers to help in the defense of the village, but as soon as the threat is gone, he dissappears. Chris is surprised to find him waiting in her room that night, even more surprised he managed to piece together a private conversation concerning her missing father. Chris reluctantly agrees to travel the Grasslands together in search of the flame champion.

Nash and Chris.
This is how all their conversations go, but usually Chris gets the last word.

Nash is an obvious foil to the knights: he works alone, is unburdened by a rigid code of honor, and Chris doesn't always know what to do with him. Nash is also an intelligence officer of a power hostile to Zexen and the Grasslands, and that probably isn't helping anything. She isn't used to flirting, but she has quite the sharp tongue, and it really gets a workout whenever Nash is around.

But their relationship has deeper levels. Nash is Chris's companion during her most trying quest. Instead of patrolling familiar Zexen, Chris moves through enemy territory and has to confront the people she fights against face to face. Nash has been there and done that, and he seems to know what to say to make her realize who she is and what she needs to fight for. When difficult situations come up, Nash poses questions rather than pushes ideologies.

In this, Nash becomes a strange sort of mentor to Chris. I suppose it isn't all that weird, since this is the game where a cigar-smoking duck plays the same role of wizened soldier for Hugo.

By the end of it, Chris and Nash are friends of some sort. In the manga, Nash's mission is to find Wyatt Lightfellow and the True Water Rune. When Chris takes posession of it, he lets her go, in spite of his mission. Nash's goals as Sasarai's tool are more ambiguous in the actual game, but he comes out and tells Chris of his affiliation with Harmonia nonetheless. This is a gesture of trust and faith-- Nash too, knows what it is to be used by the authorities.

Strangely, though the dynamic between Nash and Chris is my favorite in the game, and Nash is my flat-out favorite Suikoden character, with Chris in the running for second, I don't see it as a romantic thing. I might be too much of a Nash/Sierra freak, but I think this is a charming take on the mentor idea, and I like them as friends. That said, it's clear Nash finds Chris attractive and isn't afraid to say so.