This novel-length NaNoWriMo 2019 entry, lying in wait for the unwary here, mashes together the Azure Moon and Verdant Wind routes from Fire Emblem: Three Houses, while sort of shoving Crimson Flower out of sight under the couch.
Other changes include splitting f!Byleth into a trio (Beth, Jo and Kid), heavily rewriting the game's lore in various places, and more or less letting Wish-Fulfillment run wild, possibly trampling innocent civilians in the process. There's a heavy focus on Seteth and Flayn with sidelights on Jeralt, Claude, Dimitri, Dedue, and some other random students the author happened to like.
Not for the faint of heart, lore sticklers or Edelgard fans. Happy endings lurk around every corner. Proceed at your own risk.
Spoilers for both the game and the fic follow!
This nonsense provides examples of:
- Alas, Poor Villain: Not to the same extent as in the game, but while Edelgard is clearly involved in all the Bad Stuff going down, the narrative questions whether she's a willing and active participant or more of a victim. The truth is ultimately left unclear.
- Ancestral Weapon: The Heroes’ Relics are absent, but the Sword of the Creator remains in an altered form. It's no longer simply a sword; instead it's equal parts weapon and tool, one used by Sothis in her creative activities thousands of years ago. Only those linked to her can activate it.
- Blatant Lies: Jo isn't above telling these to you, the reader, mostly because she's writing the story under protest and has to talk about certain things, but really doesn't want to. She discusses it at one point.I think I should write, "Dad retired to Derdriu and started an inn called the Eisner Arms. Stop by if you get a chance, he serves the best beer in town." See? That's nice. Maybe if enough people read it and believe it, it won't be a lie anymore.
- Birthmark of Destiny:
- Green hair and eyes are said to be the mark of the Chosen, those the goddess has selected to watch over her church. Rhea, Seteth, and Flayn are all marked this way, and eventually Kid joins the party.
- The three protagonists bear a special Crest "inherited" from Sothis, though it takes half the story for them to figure out what it is and where it comes from.
- Character Narrator: Jo Eisner, despite her protests, is the one telling this story. In Greek Chorus style she addresses the reader and offers her own opinions on things.
- The Church: The Church of Seiros, more or less as in the game, is a major power in Fódlan, with the elite Knights of Seiros at its command, extensive holdings, and thousands of worshipers spread through the Kingdom, the Alliance and the Empire. Garreg Mach monastery is its huge and well-supplied center of operations.
- Deadpan Snarker:
- Jo Eisner, who acts as the narrator, views the world through a lens of snark and makes this obvious at every opportunity. She can be a bit cynical, but normally her ribbing is good-natured and she often directs it at herself.
- Claude is the student representative of this trope, even when in danger of his life. He often uses it to help defuse situations or deflect attention.
- Defrosting Ice King: Jo takes an interest in Seteth because she notes his cool, aloof nature, and wonders what defrosting would do. It's a long, frustrating task, with inevitable misunderstandings due to all the secrets flying around, but eventually he shows his warmer side.
- Dragon Rider: Wyverns, in this case. Jo's wyvern friend, Dessie, plays a key role at several points in the story, and both Jo and Seteth are shown to be experienced riders, which becomes a way for them to bond.
- Dramatic Unmask: As in the game, though not done the same way. A mysterious group of riders is seen riding away from the monastery after an attack; they try to hide their faces, but Jo catches up and manages to unmask the one who appears to be leading them - Princess Edelgard. War with the Empire begins soon afterwards.
- Emotionless Girl: Kid starts out as this, never laughing, crying, or getting angry, to the point it creeps strangers out. Her sisters eventually teach her to smile because she wants to stop driving people away.After spending a little time with her, strangers would come up to me or Beth (they never dared say it to Dad) and whisper, "She's a nice girl, but she's not quite right, is she?"
- Experienced Protagonist: The Jeralts are well-known, veteran mercenaries before the story starts, even Kid, the youngest. They're hired as teachers on this very basis.
- Fighter, Mage, Thief: The three sisters are a classic example. Beth is the muscle who wades into mêlèe and smashes things, Kid stays back and acts as the magical equivalent of a tactical nuke, Jo spies and stabs and sneaks and snipes.
- Fighting Your Friend: House Gloucester switches sides when the war starts and Lorenz goes with it. Eventually there's a clash between the two factions in the Alliance, with Lorenz on one side and all the other characters against him. Fortunately, when his position becomes hopeless, he surrenders.
- Heroic BSoD: Jo and Kid shut down after Jeralt's death - Jo sits inside and tries to pretend the world doesn't exist, Kid returns to her Emotionless Girl roots. It takes a few days for them to break out of it, and even several years later, when Jo is writing their story, she refuses to describe the attack and Seteth has to take over.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The chapter titles often have nothing to do with their contents. They consist of the day in November on which the chapter was written, followed by some random musing or ranting on the author's part.Chapter 19: November 18th (Where would you sleep if you were a time-traveling ancient dragon goddess?)
- Insecure Love Interest: Once Seteth actually starts responding to her advances, Jo's Inferiority Superiority Complex kicks in a couple of times; she realizes that her smart mouth and libido are poor substitutes for actual experience with romantic relationships and either babbles uncomfortably or just shuts down.
- Joke and Receive: Jo tends to stumble into this when trying to make light of dire situations.I shrugged. "How bad could it be? The archbishop doesn't want to kill us or anything, right?" My sisters exchanged glances. "Oh, no. You think the archbishop wants to kill us."
- Living with the Villain: It slowly becomes obvious that someone living in the monastery is a traitor. In fact there are two - Tomas, the head librarian, and Edelgard, one of the students. Both are revealed in rather dramatic fashion.
- Rhea, Seteth and Flayn are all somewhere over a thousand years old, while Sothis appears to be much older than that.
- Jeralt is implied to be longer lived than ordinary and his daughters, especially Jo, may end up living for thousands of years, as Sothis's children do.
- Pointy Ears: The fact that Sothis has these becomes something of a plot point, since Rhea and Seteth possess them as well, but deliberately hide them. It also becomes part of a running joke about human ears being inferior.
- Properly Paranoid:
- Jeralt leaves the monastery because he's sure Rhea has done something-or-other to Kid. As the years go on, he starts to wonder if he'd overreacted out of grief over losing his wife. Turns out his first guess was right.
- Seteth keeps lying about his relationship to Flayn because he's not sure if all their enemies are dead, even after almost a thousand years. They're not.
- Rescue Romance: The Eisners save Dimitri and Dedue when they're attacked on the road to Garreg Mach, which begins a long, somewhat tortuous road to love for Beth and Kid.
- Revenge: There are three revenge plots which end up interlocked.
- A millennia-long revenge plot against Sothis and her children by the people she defeated.
- Lonato Gaspard trying to get revenge for the execution of his only child
- The Eisner kids trying to get revenge for the murder of their dad.
- Revenge Before Reason: When Jo brings news that she's spotted Tomas out in the woods, all three sisters throw caution and good sense to the wind. Without bothering to inform the Knights of the situation, they charge over to avenge their dad and end up very nearly dying. Then the group of students who'd been following them (again, without bothering to inform the Knights) charge over to avenge the sisters, and they end up very nearly dying. Afterwards everyone generally agrees the whole thing was a bad idea.
- Rightful King Returns: Faerghus is overrun and Dimitri forced to flee for his life, but eventually, after a lot of fighting and some amateur psychotherapy, he returns to claim his throne.
- Switching P.O.V.: The vast majority of the story is told by Jo, but Seteth takes over for the brief description of Jeralt's death.