Ashley Riot is the protagonist of the 2000 Square RPG Vagrant Story. Designed by Akihiko Yoshida, Ashley possesses many gameplay attributes unique to his character, such as his ability to chain attacks together and a Risk meter that determines his effectiveness in battle. Ashley's character is that of a battle-hardened man whose past has left him an emotionless-yet-effective government operative.
Ashley Riot is a specialized agent of the Valendia Knights of the Peace (The VKP), called a Riskbreaker. Riskbreakers are highly trained fighters, sent in alone on dangerous missions to maintain order within the kingdom. The mortality rate of Riskbreakers is almost suicidally high, but Ashley proves either his massive cunning or extreme luck in every mission he undertakes. His demeanor is cold yet calm, and systematic and ruthless -- he lets nothing get in the way of accomplishing what he needs to do.
A master of arms, Ashley is skilled with all forms of weapons including swords, daggers, axes, spears, crossbows, and staves. He is also an adept blacksmith and can craft metalworks with speed and precision, to either upgrade his current equipment or repair it. Ashley's fashion sense is debatable, with an appearance noted by his antennae-like hair and chaps that expose the cheeks of his derriere.
Lea Monde and The Dark
When called upon his superiors to put an end to a hostage crisis in Duke Bardorba's manor propogated by the cult leader Sydney Losstarot, he is sent alone save for meeting up with his informant, Callo Merlose. When the forces of Guildenstern's knights set the manor ablaze, Ashley sees the perfect opportunity for a covert infiltration, prompting Merlose to ask if they should wait for reinforcements. Ashley coolly denies the need, instead boasting "I am the reinforcements." As he confronts Sydney with a crossbow bolt to the heart, Ashley's perfect record is challenged as Sydney suddenly stands up and removes it. The cultist retreats to a place called Lea Monde with the Duke's son Joshua as a captive, but not before hindering Ashley's progress with a wyvern, which is not a challenge for Ashley to dispatch.
Commanded to follow Sydney, Ashley and Merlose travel to Lea Monde, the once-thriving city destroyed 25 years prior. Shortly after entering, Ashley finds that Sydney has taken Merlose captive as well, holding her as the bait to incite Ashley to chase him. Sydney also tempts Ashley with a recurring vision of his family, which enrages Ashley. However, Sydney also mentions the potential he sees in Ashley -- a ruthless killing machine that would be well suited to the mystical powers he himself commands, called The Dark. Almost immediately thereafter Ashley is able to use The Dark to augment his abilities beyond that of a mortal, with chain-attacks, magic, and special weapon skills.
As he goes further into the dark city of Lea Monde, Ashley also discovers a psychic connection with certain characters in the game, allowing him to see the events unfolding around Romeo Guildenstern. Guildenstern is the leader of a zealous band called the Crimson Knights, and he too seeks the power of the Darkness. Ashley finds himself in a race to the center of the city to confront Sydney and Guildenstern, and locked in a battle to see who will wield the powers of the Dark.
Ashley's true past
Ashley's past is a mystery that becomes more entangled as the plot of Vagrant Story unfolds. His memories show that he once had a wife and child who were murdered by bandits. This prompted him to join the VKP and fight for order. However, his encounters with fellow Riskbreaker Rosencrantz unlock a different memory. Rosencrantz claims to have been a former partner of Riot's, and reveals it was the two of them who murdered the woman and child. During the final boss fight, Ashley again has a vision of his "family", this time able to confront them directly. They tell him to forget the past, and rather become the man he wishes to be.