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Fanfic / Earthborne

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Driving in the rain is dangerous—your car could hydroplane, or, if it's really not your day, plane into another universe entirely. The latter is what happens to Harrison when a seemingly-normal afternoon on the road sees him inexplicably transported into the world of Fire Emblem Fates, shortly before the events of the game; what's more, his car seemingly returns to Earth without him, leaving him stranded without any means of getting back (and without a ride).


Fortunately for him, a chance meeting sees him brought to the nearby Northern Fortress, putting him in a prime position to assess his situation and what he should do with it. Not so fortunately however, his apparition has caught the attention of the less-benign forces within Nohr, and he's quickly caught in the plot in ways he couldn't have expected. As Harrison gets immersed further into the world of Fates, he finds that things are not as easy or predictable as they may appear, and surviving the story isn't going to be easy - especially if your actions keep you from staying under the radar or out of harm's way...

Earthborne by Mixed Valence may look like a standard Self-Insert story, but slowly proves it has far more to offer. Buoyed by a well-crafted plot, a likeable protagonist and an interpretation of its setting with additional nuance and world-building, this story is worth more than a passing-glance.


Earthborne contains examples of:

  • Action Survivor: Harrison has mere weeks to learn basic combat, let alone put those skills into practice, before the war gets set off. Fortunately he's good at learning on his feet, but he's far from exemplary and survives more on his wits than raw strength.
  • Admiring the Abomination: In a more mundane manner, Reina marvels at the concept of firearms as a novel and brutally-efficient way of killing; Harrison tries to underscore this, only to realise that anything he says would only increase her wonderment instead of dampen it.
  • A Lighter Shade of Grey: The Hoshidan royal family and their retainers are this to their Nohrian counterparts. While the latter has Garon, Iago and Hans at the top of the command structure, the royal children are all fundamentally-good people with a few morally-dubious qualities; several of their retainers are varying degrees of ruthless, but ultimately not willing to go over the line if order. The former has Mikoto and Yukimura running things mostly-smoothly, but while the royal children are overall good people their attitudes towards trusting foreigners vary; while their retainers are adjusted people, several are unwilling to debate whether they're mistaken. That's without getting into Toyoshima and his group.
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  • And Now For Something Completely Different: Chapters 32 & 40 are interlude chapters in the third person, and depict the POV of some characters who have been affected by Harrison's actions and presence.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Although Hoshido's royal family subvert this, a good number of the nation's daimyo (particularly in the western territories) are apathetic at best to the wellbeing of their countrymen and Toyoshima's forces are willing to seize any resources they can to sustain their army - even resorting to razing those who refuse them. In turn, villages like Hoiyoto subvert Patriotic Fervor in favour of just wanting to be left to live their lives in peace.
  • Ascended Extra: While Reina in the game is only marginally-relevant in the one chapter of each route she appears, in this story she debuts as a messenger warning Hoiyoto about the rebels at their doorstep, and stays as a Guest-Star Party Member providing combat support in the upcoming battle.
  • Badass Gay: Hoiyoto's blacksmith, Taka and her partner/lover Ayane, the village herbalist are quite competent in their own right.
  • Bad Boss: What does Lt. Yamamoto do to a shrine maiden who surrenders her festal (to an armed opponent that had threatened her into it)? Break her arm for not being Defiant to the End. Further, when retreating he leaves behind not just his dead, but also the wounded who were under his command.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Downplayed. Harrison is very laid-back and friendly towards just about anyone, and willing to see other people's viewpoints within reason, but if you get him legitimately upset (as Xander does at one point)... don't expect to be let off without a tongue-lashing at least. As for legitimate injustices like the Hoshidan civil war that's leaving innocents dead, even his self-doubts won't prevent him from standing up if there's something he can do about it.
  • Birds of a Feather: Platonic varient with Corrin and Harrison; both are ultimately kind people with good natures who just want the best for those closest to them. Harrison is even able to appeal to Corrin's optimism by encouraging her to "bridge the gap" between the warring countries (of course, it helps that he knows this is even doable).
  • Breather Episode: Chapter 31 is mostly a break from the drama of the previous few chapters, where the war broke out and Harrison fled to Hoiyoto. The final scene brings it back into perspective, however.
  • The Bus Came Back: Felicia stumbles into Hoiyoto soon after the war breaks out and reunites with Harrison.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A tome that catches Harrison's eye, "Rocks and Minerals of Nohr and Hoshido", is given to him by Leo as a gift of sorts when he's mistaken for a Hoshidan spy and has to leave Krakenberg with Kaze and Rinkah. It gives him reading material in his spare time, educates him on the distinctive geology of each country, and helps him develop gunpowder (and later, firearms) thanks to cross-referencing and experimentation, using the theory he knows and the practical he's not as familiar with.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Harrison takes note of a soldier at the Northern Fortress, whose gaze makes him feel uneasy. This soldier reports him to Iago, who assumes him a Hoshidan spy and puts him into the same cell as Kaze and Rinkah.
    • The village of Hoiyoto, which appears first as a means for Harrison to prove himself, comes back in a big way after he refuses to side with either army and finds sanctuary there.
  • Commander Contrarian: Takumi becomes this on the matter of trusting not only his sisters, Azura and Corrin but also Harrison - to the point of invoking Jerkass Has a Point regarding nobles who (primarily had) dissented towards Ryoma's legibility in leading Hoshido's army. At this point even his siblings are getting tired of his attitude.
  • Compound Title: "Where There's Life", "There's Hope". Fitting, considering that these cover Queen Mikoto surviving the assassination attempt.
  • Cool Old Guy: The middle-aged mayor of Hoiyoto, Shinjiro Murata - a firm but reasonable man who gives Harrison gratitude for saving his son's life, later offers him sanctuary, and is reasonable enough to not vilify Nohrian people and admit there are rotten folks in Hoshido as well.
  • Culture Clash: Among the myriad ways feudal societies don't mesh with Harrison's 21st Century sensibilities, one faux pas he accidentally commits in Hoshido is bathing while dirty (one is meant to clean themselves off before stepping into the bath, to not dirty the water).
  • Due to the Dead: That Hoiyoto does for the enemy force that tried to raid them, even giving them funeral rites alongside the beloved Daisuke, helps Harrison convince the survivors (who were wounded and left behind by their commander) to pull a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Fish out of Water: Almost a prerequisite to being Trapped in Another World; part of Harrison's struggle initially is understanding the different culture of the world he's in, and working within the societal expectations. At least he knows the setting somewhat...
  • For Want of a Nail: Harrison's actions, big and small have impacted the setting:
    • His friendship with the Nohrian royal family (Xander in particular) helped him to keep them from falling apart completely after Corrin chose to side with Hoshido.
    • Working to try and prevent Mikoto's death and succeeding led to an unforeseeable shift in Hoshido's political climate, with a power-hungry faction of daimyo taking advantage of the particular situation. In addition to this, Corrin felt more strongly the need to stay with Hoshido, as her mother is alive-but-crippled and she can't abandon her.
    • Felicia ends up in Hoiyoto, and is drafted to stay there and help the village in exchange for her life and to prove her goodwill (after Harrison vouches for her).
    • In turn, when the rebel Hoshidans start attacking towns and villages for their resources, he decides to take a stand and shift the balance of war... by introducing gunpowder and firearms to the common people.
  • Giving Radio to the Romans: Though he is reluctant to do so, Harrison introduces firearms to the setting to help Hoiyoto resist the West Hoshidan rebels - who are demanding resources for their war effort against the main Hoshidan army, and razing any village that stands against them.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: All across the board.
    • Camilla is envious that after how much involvement she had in Corrin's life her little sister (in Camilla's mind, anyway) - chose an "unrefined, short-haired tomboy who had probably never worn a dress in her life".
    • Takumi feels overshadowed by his siblings, especially Ryoma and Corrin, and a lot of his resentment comes from wanting to stand out among them; he's also jealous of how much regard Sakura, the sibling he's closest to, has for Harrison.
    • Sakura is upset when Harrison writes a reconciliatory letter for Corrin, on the off-chance they end up on opposite sides, and doesn't consider doing so for her as well; having bonded with Harrison by this point, Sakura (who is Not Good with People) is harbouring a Precocious Crush on him and feels put-out that he thought of Corrin but not her. She also beats herself up over this in private, feeling that her jealousy is unjustified since after all, Harrison is Corrin's retainer and it makes sense from a rational angle.
  • Heroic BSoD: Harrison nearly enters one at the Plains of Hoshido, where he leaves the war front and ends up having to kill in self-defence. Happens even worse after his decision to defend Hoiyoto leads to Daisuke's death, and Hiro turning on the whole village for defending Harrison on the matter.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Poor Sakura; in contrast to Takumi (who airs his misgivings liberally), she doesn't even think she has the right to feel jealous of Corrin. Her long-lost sister has the attention and adulation of just about everyone, including a boy Sakura feels uncommonly comfortable around, while she's The Baby of the Bunch who is even more overlooked than ever before; yet despite this Sakura still doesn't feel right being resentful about it even if these feelings are normal.
    • Harrison is also quite prone to this, given his foreknowledge about the future makes him feel responsible for doing whatever good he can do, but if something goes awry he's more likely to blame himself than other parties (even if those other parties are even more responsible). In particular, he second-guesses himself when saving Mikoto partly influences Corrin to side Hoshido (over not picking any side), and when his attempts to defend Hoshido result in Daisuke dying and Hiro blaming him he barely even defends himself even though he probably did a lot more good than bad in the long run; in both cases, the bad is a more immediate concern, and it haunts him that others are getting hurt as a result of his decisions.
  • Hero of Another Story: Corrin becomes this after Harrison leaves the war, leaving her story to occur separate from his.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Mikoto's survival doesn't stop the Ganglari-based attack on Hoshido from collapsing her protective barrier.
  • Irrational Hatred: After Daisuke's death, a bereft Hiro immediately turns on Harrison and blames him alone for it; nevermind the long-term consequences if they simply submitted to the West Hoshidans, or the fact that Daisuke knew the risks going in (as Murata points out), all that matters to Hiro is his best friend died as a result of Harrison's actions. To the point he defects from the village when they defend Harrison over it!
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Takumi, with emphasis on both sides of this trope: on the one hand he's obstinate and unapologetic on his views, unwilling to see matters in a greyer fashion, and envious of those who in his mind take over the spotlight (particularly Corrin and Harrison); on the other hand he does cherish his country's wellbeing, loves his family enough to worry about his mother's recovery and Sakura's heartsickness (albeit not knowing how to prioritise it), and while he wants to prove himself in a way that might harm others... it's out of a sincerely misguided thought process. It's unclear if these emotions are being enhanced by Anankos' influence, but they do come from a real place.
  • Meaningful Name: Many of the Hoshidan characters original to the story have names with evocative meanings.
  • Misplaced Retribution: See Irrational Hatred.
  • Moral Myopia: Takumi to a painful degree; see Jerk with a Heart of Gold and Green-Eyed Monster.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Of the Hoshidan retainers, Hinata tells Harrison plainly that he doesn't trust him because Takumi doesn't, and he trusts Takumi's judgement.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Not What It Looks Like: An aggravating instance of this trope occurs when Takumi shoots Harrison when he sees him confronting the hooded man, who was trying to take Ganglari from Shirasagi after Harrison convinced Corrin to leave it there; he jumps on this as "proof" that Harrison was a coconspirator and this was part of his plan (also using Poor Communication Kills for his argument).
  • Not So Different: Discussed in Chapter 38:
    Murata: What was it you said, kid? 'Hoshido loves peace?'
    Harrison: Yeah, what about it?
    Murata: It's just that it's so funny. [laughs bitterly] Think about it. Our greatest national treasures are weapons. We domesticate pegasi and kinshi, noble, beautiful beasts, to use them for war. And now, our own daimyo are in open rebellion and wage civil war against the crown. Say that again, 'Hoshido loves peace.' [laughs again, then sighs] If there's one thing I can admire Nohr for, it's that they're honest about the fact that war is their game.
  • Odd Friendship: Xander, the Crown Prince of Nohr with Harrison, an foreigner from another world who for all intents and purposes is just a commoner. Xander's POV in Chapter 32 reveals that, as someone who feels The Chains of Commanding in his societal role, Xander feels comfortable in Harrison's company because he doesn't have to put on a front and can just be himself around him. For his part, Harrison respects Xander greatly (to the point of seeing him as a Big Brother Mentor) and is willing to be his retainer - though he will also call him out for doing things he finds objectionable.
  • Original Character: The residents of Hoiyoto, as well as a treasonous faction of daimyo led by Lord Toyoshima.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Sakura raises her voice, even Takumi is stunned into silence.
  • Outside-Context Problem: For the Nohr/Hoshido conflict (and even Anankos), Harrison's mere presence is something they can't predict; this becomes most evident when he saves Mikoto during the Ganglari attack, something Orochi notes she believed to be impossible.
    • However, even Harrison is caught off-guard by the "West Hoshido" army rising up to try and usurp the throne at a time of political unrest. Even the Foreshadowing caught him off-guard.
  • Precocious Crush: Sakura has budding feelings towards Harrison, who is perhaps the only male outside her family and the royal retainers who she finds it easy to be around and speak with. Time will tell if anything comes of it.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • One particular thing Harrison never considered was that with Mikoto alive, Corrin would feel very strongly about not hurting her mother's feelings or abandoning her; even with his words and appeal to her inner optimist reason can't sway the human heart like sentiment does.
    • Although the Hoshidan royal family inspires much loyalty in its people for the most part, those who toil away their lives far from the capitol with little exposure to the patriotism or the nobility are naturally less-inclined to feel the Hoshidan solidarity - those who have lords with little regard for their wellbeing even more. Harrison is able to inspire some loyalty from the people of Hoiyoto by pointing out that while the rebellious daimyo have never done anything for them, Princess Hinoka herself came to fight the Faceless that had threatened their lives and homes.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Azura is quick to suspect Harrison of knowing more than he's letting on to everyone, albeit her theories are off - she initially assumes his claim of being Trapped in Another World is actually shorthand for being Vallite, though she does realise her mistake after confronting him about it. Later she notices his words about "bridging the gap" and there being an third path for Corrin to take in bringing peace, and rightly believes that he is more aware of things than someone from another world should be; of course, she has no idea how this is the case as yet.
  • Rousing Speech: Mayor Murata is really good at giving them, showing why he's an effective leader. Harrison isn't bad either, although his references to Earth-exclusive element make his otherwise-valid points Metaphorgotten.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Daisuke.
  • Samus Is a Girl: A minor case when Harrison is surprised to learn that Taka, the blacksmith Ayane lives with is a woman; he initially doesn't realise they are a lesbian couple, though when he finds out he has no issue with it.
  • Science Hero: Harrison happens to be a massive chemistry nerd, which he puts to good use later down the line.
  • Screw Destiny: In a big way when Mikoto's death is averted (albeit with crippling injuries) and the casualty count from the same incident is greatly reduced.
  • Ship Tease: Harrison has had varying degrees of it with multiple female characters (though conspicuously-enough, not Corrin). Particularly with Camilla, Azura and Sakura.
  • Shown Their Work: All the names for various elements, compounds and such are accurately described and depicted. Mixed Valence has also properly researched the history of firearm-making, in order to accurately demonstrate Harrison and the craftspeople of Hoiyoto constructing workable guns within a brief timeframe.
  • Smug Snake: Lieutenant Ieyasu Yamamoto of the West Hoshidan army, a conceited military commander whose Establishing Character Moment is to boast about how he's a "soon to be General" as he passive-aggressively demands Hoiyoto's surrender. The moment things turn against him, his Faux Affably Evil facade drops to show an ugly temperament and a very Bad Boss.
  • Spanner in the Works: Harrison manages to be one, to a degree even he doesn't see coming.
  • Take a Third Option: As the war between Hoshido and Nohr draws nearer Harrison, who of course knows what siding with either country will bring, strongly suggests to Corrin that she do this instead. He doesn't succeed.
  • There Is Another: Azura thinks this is the case with Harrison, with his actual backstory being a veil for it; she's visibly disappointed when she realises her mistake.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Harrison's first kill, a soldier of Hoshido who mistook him for a Nohrian, almost sends him into a Heroic BSoD and haunts him well after the fact.
  • Third-Option Adaptation: The story takes a different approach to the route split than canon - Corrin chooses her Hoshidan family, but in (partial) response to her mother being Spared by the Adaptation; there's another villainous faction at work as well, and it's implied Harrison's efforts have changed more than even he's aware of so far.
  • Tranquil Fury: Taka has an epic case of this when she reminds Hiro that she invented the gun he was using, and makes him leave it behind when he deserts Hoiyoto.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: In contrast to Takumi's outright loathing and distrust, Harrison's relationship with Rinkah is - while still somewhat heated - overall less loaded; even with her skepticism over his claims of another world and rationalist worldview, she's willing to give him a little benefit of the doubt and doesn't openly antagonise him. She even admits (if begrudgingly) that his claims about scientific explanations have some validity when he proves the existence of bacteria to her.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 8. Harrison is poring over the various texts in the Nohrian library, when Iago accosts him under the pretext of being a Hoshidan spy, and throws him into prison with Rinkah and Kaze. At which point the status quo the story has been settling into was utterly shattered.
    • Chapter 27. Unable to stand against either country, Harrison flees the battlefield. He also kills his first human in self-defence, which almost wrecks him.
    • Chapter 36. Hoiyoto successfully repels the invading force thanks to Harrison's innovation... but Daisuke perishes. His friend Hiro, unwilling to accept this, blames Harrison and leaves the village when they don't agree with him.
  • Wham Line: In Chapter 26.
    Corrin: Xander. Withdraw your troops.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Being artificial monsters without a soul of their own, killing Faceless proves no moral issue; humans are another matter.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After Iago accuses Harrison of being a spy and Xander doesn't even show signs of questioning it, Harrison wastes no time in calling him on it when they next talk. Xander explains afterwards that he was more than a little wary of accepting Harrison's story at face value, even with apparent proof, and Iago's words revived his suspicions; he also admits to this being a failure on his part (especially in contrast to Corrin's) and sincerely apologises for it.


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