"What do you care? The less people notice you, the better your chances. [...] A shame you realized it too late."
—The Black Knight to Kellam in one of Awakening's DLC.
As a Long Runner, Fire Emblem has built up a large repertoire of antagonists and villains, and these in particular stand as some of the most cunning, charismatic, or intelligent of them all.
Fire Emblem Gaiden and Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
- Jedah leads the Duma Faithful with an iron will and unshakeable faith. Allied with the Rigelian Empire, Jedah focuses primarily on Celica and her group, preying on the former's Fatal Flaws so he can take her soul to cure Duma of his madness. Showing naught but full loyalty to Duma, molding himself and everyone loyal to him to Duma's doctrines, Jedah controls the heroes up until the end where the Falchion, the one item that can kill Duma, is released. Despite the atrocities he commits in the name of Duma, Jedah is furious the heroes would rather live in a world with an unsure future as opposed to an era of certainty in Duma's chaotic shadow, proving his devotion genuine.
- Emperor Rudolf I was among the few to realize the gods Mila and Duma degenerated from madness, meaning he had to ensure the future of Valentia by any means necessary. He leads a grand conquest of the Valentian continent to feed a starving Rigel as well as make himself a target for a group of heroes to defeat so Rigel and Zofia could unite. Despite leading a war of aggression, Rudolf ensures minimum casualties are sustained and a trusted ally, Ezekiel, keeps his more militant commanders in check. By the time his infamy reaches the ears of Alm, his plan has been set in motion. Before his final battle, he orders his men to surrender upon his death to ensure no further casualties. He may have made mistakes, such as enabling Berkut's pride or telling no one but Mycen of his real heritage, but in the end, his gambit worked: his son became the first king of a united Valentia that lived on for millennia.
The Jugdral Games
- Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War: Orphaned at a tender age, Arvis of Velthomer managed to climb his way up the ladder of power and prestige. Once war and corruption threatens to tear Judgral asunder, Arvis aspires to construct a peaceful empire of equality. Although he employs ruthless methods like assassination and deceit, Arvis's dream is pure and admirable. Managing to claim land after land without much trouble through his machinations, Arvis caps off his conquest by slaying his last opposition, who he had outed as a traitor, in Belhalla. Crowned Emperor of Grannvale, Arvis makes the utopia he sacrificed so much for. When the second half of the plot proceeds to tear down his dream, Arvis does his best to subvert the Child Hunts, fight back against Manfroy's manipulations, and ultimately gives Seliph the Tyrfing needed to put an end to the evils plaguing Judgral. This shows that Arvis, while ambitious and unfettered, held enough standards to ensure his own sins were ultimately undone for the sake of a better world.
The Elibe Games
- Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade: King Zephiel of Bern was once a cheerful, idealistic youth cruelly betrayed by his cruel father King Desmond. Faking his own death, Zephiel killed his father, becoming disillusioned with humanity and helped to unseal the dragon tribe, including the Demon Dragon Idunn, to punish humanity for its sins. Leading Bern in a war of seeming conquest, Zephiel instead intends to unleash Idunn, using the war as a clever front. Even when cornered by the young hero Roy, Zephiel uses himself as bait to keep his plans going, unrepentant to the end.
The Tellius Games
- Naesala, the King of Kilvas, is a Raven Laguz who is introduced cheerfully working with the Daein army and betraying them to loot their ships for the betterment of kilvas. Selling his friend, the Heron Laguz Reyson into slavery for benefits to Kilvas, Naesala does intend to recover him, and later assists the army against Daein to rescue Reyson's sister Leanne. Constantly manipulating and betraying his allies, it turns out Naesala is under a Blood Pact to the Beginon Senate,to force them to do his worst deeds or risk his entire nation dying. Finding a loophole in the Blood Pact, Naesala is able to break it and join the heroes to achieve a final freedom for Kilvas and live happily ever after with Leanne.
- Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn:
- Sephiran, real name Lehran, was once a great hero who helped to defeat the goddess Yune. Centuries of observing Laguz oppression, culminating in the murder of Sephiran's descendant and the horrific Serenes Forest Massacre forever broke Sephiran's faith in the world, leading to him to attempt to awaken the goddess Ashera to judge it. As a member of the Begnion senate, Sephiran manipulates all the events of Path of Radiance, having tricked Ashnard into starting his war to awaken the goddess and manipulates everyone further in Radiant Dawn, culminating in the awakening of the goddess to deliver the judgement he feels the world deserves.
- The Black Knight, true identity Zelgius, is a bold commander who leads Daein's armies while manipulating them as well. Having suffered persecution as a Branded, the Black Knight is Sephiran's right hand man ho also guides Ike to become stronger so he may have the match with him he never got to have with Ike's father Greil, the Black Knight's own mentor. After Daein's fall, he manipulates both Beginon's armies and all others to Sephiran's plan, intending on facing Ike in one final duel and even being honored as Ike's final teacher once the battle is done.
- Walhart The Conqueror was born in the small country of Valm. Through sheer determination, single-minded will, and his own natural power, Walhart cultivated the fealty of people after people under his cause of uniting the world through force. Seen as a god among men because of his charisma, Walhart spent the timeskip gathering his army and resources. He makes his first appearance singlehandedly decimating the northern forces of the alliance against the Valmese Empire before seemingly killing Khan Basilio. When confronted by Chrom and the Shepherds, Walhart shows no desire to listen to lesser men and readily attempts to have them squashed. Yet, in defeat and death, he congratulates Chrom. A man out to conquer the world not out of malice, but to actually unite people in a way no religion ever could, Walhart would have then annihilated the Grimleal, but his short-sighted lack of compassion and companionship proved to be the conqueror's sole weakness.