The Lost King is a multi-chapter Fire Emblem Fates fanfic by The Apocryphal One. It is written as a companion piece to one of the author's previous works, The Invisible Princess, taking place between Chapters 4 and 6 of that story.
This fic is written under the assumption that the reader has played A.) the Conquest and Revelation routes of Fire Emblem Fates, and B.) the Hidden Truths DLC. As such, this page has unmarked spoilers for the game.
Premise:Just as The Invisible Princess was written as a prequel to Fates focusing on Mikoto, The Lost King is a prequel focusing on King Garon before he was killed and turned into a puppet of Anankos. Since the game only really shows off the possessed Garon and characterizes him as an Obviously Evil ruler, one of the fic's aims is to expand on his true personality that was only hinted at in some Support conversations. There is also a notable focus on the violent infighting of Garon's concubines and the struggles of Nohr, leading to the fic having a bleaker tone than The Invisible Princess.
The Lost King contains examples of the following tropes:
- Ambiguous Situation: Did Gertrude commit suicide, or was she murdered by someone else who made it look like a suicide? Both are noted to have been possible, and no concrete answer is given.
- Garon doesn't want to authorize the raids on Hoshido, but due to circumstances outside of his control, the only other option he has is to let his own people starve.
- Chapter 7 reveals that Iago only serves Anankos out of fear and self-preservation, and he constantly has to justify his actions to himself.
- The Cameo: Like in Invisible Princess, several Fates characters make small cameos here or there, this time on the Nohrian side (obviously). So far Gunter, Camilla, and Leo have all had a small mention, with Xander getting slightly more appearances.
- Chapter 5 has several Invisible Princess characters themselves showing up, including Duchess Hiromi, Sumeragi, Mikoto, and Kamui.
- Darker and Edgier: The story is a lot bleaker than The Invisible Princess, which it shares continuity with. The Invisible Princess had its share of dark moments, but those were offset by a good number of light and happy ones, and it started and ended on bittersweet notes. The Lost King has many more dark or sad moments, less happy ones, and starts off with a Downer Beginning involving the examination of a recently murdered child.
- Decadent Court: Garon's concubines constantly plot against each other in bids to climb the social ladder (and thus get more power), leading to somewhat frequent murders to remove the competition. While Garon knows that his mistresses are killing each other and their children, they cover their tracks well enough that he's unable to prove anything, and thus he's unable to stop them. When the concubines aren't killing each other, they're engaged in Passive Aggressive Combat and Politeness Judo, making Nohr's court life an incredibly hostile environment.
- Doesn't Know Their Own Child: While Garon is a much better parent than most of his concubines, he still has to have a journal to keep track of his numerous children's personal info such as likes and dislikes.
- Downer Beginning: The very first scene has Garon looking over the body of his recently deceased daughter, Penelope.
- Downer Ending: The story ends with Garon killed and reanimated as a puppet—a "Water Elemental"—of Anankos.
- Driven to Suicide:
- A few days after Penelope's death, her mother Gertrude is found dead after taking a drink laced with dragon venom. The circumstances lead to Garon not being sure if she was murdered by a competing concubine (as he would normally assume) or if she had killed herself in response to her daughter's demise. Penelope's status as one of Garon's bastard children was the cornerstone of Gertrude's social status, and it's mentioned that Garon doesn't react kindly to his mistresses failing to protect their children.
- The first captured assassin kills himself while in prison, knowing that otherwise he'd be brutally tortured for information about who hired him to kill Queen Katerina.
- Establishing Series Moment: The bleak tone of the story is established by the first two paragraphs, which involves Garon looking over the dead and broken body of his 7-year-old daughter Penelope.
- Fire Keeps It Dead: Nohrian funerals involve immolating the deceased's body. The practice started untold years ago as a response to sorcerers attempting to learn how to resurrect humans, which itself was spurned by the discovery that wyverns could be reanimated with magic. The logic behind it is that one cannot revive a body that doesn't exist anymore. This doesn't stop Anankos, who is able to reanimate Katerina despite the fact that she was cremated.
- Good Parents:
- Since the concubines view their children as expendable tools, Garon tries to make up for it by being as good and loving a father as possible. He ensures that he spends some time with them every day, acts encouraging and friendly even when they do something bad, and keeps a journal about them with personal info (such as their likes, dislikes, etc.) so he can cater to them better.
- Also in contrast to the concubines, Katerina is portrayed as a good and doting mother to Xander.
- Heroic BSoD: After Arete dies, Garon get depressed and stays in his room for a month.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Iago has to keep telling himself that everything he does for Anankos is absolutely necessary for his own survival.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: When Penelope dies at the start of the story, Garon decides that he needs to drink some good alcohol. His attitude suggest it's not an attempt to forget his pain so much as it is him resigning himself to the situation with the warring concubines.
- Improvised Weapon: Katerina has to use a candlestick during the fight again a group of assassins, as she and Garon were attacked in the middle of the night while sleeping.
- Inside Job: The assassins sent after Garon and Katerina were only able to get into the couple's room using a secret passage that very few knew about, meaning that they had to have obtained help from within Garon's court.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: When Katerina's assassin is finally captured, Garon has her tortured to get her to reveal the identity of her client. She lasts for about an hour before talking.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: Garon rightfully suspects that Penelope was murdered, but whoever committed the deed made it look like her death was caused by an unfortunate fall off of a balcony.
- Mercy Kill: Katerina's wyvern becomes incredibly depressed after his owner dies, so Garon begrudgingly has him put down to end his misery.
- No Name Given: Elise's future mother shows up in the final chapter as Garon's bedmate, but she's only identified as some nameless troubadour assigned to help him out of his depression.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Garon's marriage to Katerina was arranged by their parents, but they were childhood friends and are deeply in love; other than the business with the concubines, their marriage is perfectly happy.
- Pillow Pistol: Garon keeps a dagger under his pillow in case he gets attacked in the middle of the night.
- Revenge: Duke Emeric hired the assassins to kill Garon and Katerina to get back at the king for not properly protecting Penelope and Gertrude, who were the Duke's niece and sister, respectively. While the assassins fail to kill Garon, Emeric still gets Revenge by Proxy with Katerina's death.
- The Social Darwinist: Nohr as a whole is a merit-based version of this. Since they have such limited resources, people who prove themselves valuable earn themselves luxury and safety.
- Traumatic Haircut: Azura has her hair forcibly cut short by several of her older step-siblings in Chapter 5, and is so traumatized she doesn't stop crying for hours.
- We Used to Be Friends: Garon and Jeanette used to be good friends before he had an affair with her and got her pregnant. Being included in Nohr's Decadent Court twisted her mindset to the point where she decided that Katerina had to die.
- Xanatos Gambit: Garon's response to learning that Sumeragi is deploying Hoshidan troops along the border as a warning to stop the raids is to spread the word that all criminals wanting to be pardoned for their crimes can earn it by raiding Hoshido for food. If the criminals succeed, Nohr continues to eat without paying the exuberant taxes or risking war, as Hoshido has no way to prove Garon is behind the actions of bandits; if they fail and die, then it's no great loss, as they're the kind of scum the world is better off without.