"No." And he's suddenly serious - still honest, still earnest, and he wants her to believe him. She knows he would never lie to her. "Lucia, should something ever happen to me -"
"Halone forbid -!"
"I would want you to take my place," he continues. She is about to say something but he lifts a hand to stall her objections. "There is none in the world I trust more than you."
"...my Lord," she says, and she looks down at her knees as a flush creeps up her neck. He had never said so, not in so many words. "I, I am flattered, but the people of Ishgard would never take an outsider like me..."
"Would they not?" And there's that earnest, straightforward tone, again. "Times have been changing. They said the same about me, didn't they?" And they had. She knew that, though she had not been in Ishgard in his youth and as he rose in the ranks despite the rumours. In Ishgard, rumours could be as deadly as swords, and there were so many following this lowborn youth. Outsiders might think that, if Lord Aymeric really was the Archbishop's bastard son, that would have helped him rather than hindered him. Outsiders don't understand Ishgard, like she once also failed to. It was despite the rumours and not because of them that he rose, it was because of his prowess in battle and his skill with a quill. No one could deny his competence, he excelled at everything he tried, and so he rose and rose and kept rising, and even the staunchest, most conservative defenders of Ishgardian tradition could hardly deny that he earned every single accolade and promotion ten times over with his work.
"It's different," she insists, anyway, because it is. "I am still an outsider - I am not even elezen, let alone Ishgardian -"
"And you have proven yourself as much as I have, if not more. So yes, I would have you stand in my place should the need ever arise, but for that I need you to see the same things I do, and understand why I make these decisions. Even if you come to disagree with them, I would have you disagree in full knowledge of the facts."
"...yes, my Lord." The flush still colours her cheeks but she's smiling, once again despite herself. She notices her fists have relaxed, and wonders if Lord Aymeric planned that, too, in this conversation. He must have.