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Nightmare Fuel / Fire Emblem: Three Houses

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    General 
  • The Reveal surrounding Byleth's birth. Poor kid was going to die, and the only way to save them was to implant them with the Crest Stone of the Sword of the Creator. While this did save their life, it did not come without side-effects. As Jeralt noticed rather quickly, Byleth did not act like how a newborn infant should. Even more shocking yet, they have no heartbeat. Let's think about this for a second here. They have a pulse, but their heart doesn't. It is virtually still. If the heart isn't beating, it can't supply blood to the body, and while Byleth's continued survival could be attributed to the Crest Stone that's still keeping them alive, it does bring up a rather unsettling implication: Is Byleth even still technically human?
  • Rhea's behaviour towards the player. Her tendency to speak in half truths and way she switches from mothering them, to flirting with them, to threatening them on a dime and without warning can come across as extremely unnerving.
  • A few of the supports.
    • Ferdinand's C support. Sure it's meant for laughs but he's facing off with demonic beasts. In the very same support, Byleth saves him before he becomes their lunch.
    • Bernadetta and Sylvain's C support. Bernadetta entertaining the idea of murder by arson. She even has to talk herself out of it.
    • The first few Leonie supports. With the first support, at the end, she yells at Byleth for not appreciating Jeralt and storms off in a huff. It only gets worse from there when it borderlines Stalker With a Crush.
  • What happened to Agartha. They developed technology comparable to the modern age. We're talking giant machines straight out of television shows and freaking ICBM missiles. Given how advanced they are, you have to wonder how they disappeared or got wiped out. The answer? They attacked Sothis and were wiped off the face of the map for it.
    • They didn't just do that. Their remnants, those who slither in the dark, killed Sothis in her sleep and took her body apart to use as weapons to genocide her children. If it wasn't for these assholes, the Crest system likely wouldn't have existed to begin with!
  • The origins behind the Relics, the Crests, and the Crest Stones. They are nowhere near as glamorous as the Church would have you think they are. How were they all made? From the children of the goddess. The Crests were made from their blood, the Crest Stones crafted out of their own hearts, and the Relics forged from their very bones. Is it any wonder Seiros was ragingly pissed off when she found out? And why the Church does not want to reveal this fact to the world?
    • On the note of the Relics, the way they transform humans without Crests into beasts is absolutely horrific. If Miklan's transformation into the Black Beast via the Lance of Ruin is any indication, the transformation is a painful & frightening experience. While it's hard to argue he didn't deserve it, you can't help but feel sorry for him.
    • Pay attention to some of the Relics (such as the Lance of Ruin and Aymr). They'll start twitching.
  • The Death Knight. Take everything from the Black Knight and make him more demonic. Just like the Black Knight, he's an enigmatic figure (unless you play a certain paralogue) that's an absolute monster on the battlefield (though unlike the Black Knight, he's defeatable on the first encounter). While the Black Knight at least had some Noble Demon aura, the Death Knight has none of this. Complete with a scythe, he gives off the impression of a grim reaper. Even the Death Knight's backstory is nightmare fuel, and even for the character himself, as he's barely controlled and dangerous even for the one person he exists to protect, as stated below in the Crimson Flower section.
    • While he was a terror on the battlefield on Normal and Hard Mode, Maddening Mode makes him into a nightmare, as the silver lining of him being a stationary threat in the early game on the former two difficulties is gone. Now, he can move about the battlefield freely to bring death as early as his first appearance.
  • The Remire Village incident is absolutely horrifying, regardless of which house you're with. The village is struck with a Hate Plague, causing a lot of the villagers to go completely insane and start killing each other and destroying the place, all because that bastard Solon wanted to see what would happen.
  • The Holy Tomb mission. No matter what house you are with, it will be pure terror; even the level's atmosphere is oppressive. To start, Rhea is at her least trustworthy, when she convinces Byleth to sit on the Throne, which we later learn was meant to enable them to merge their mind with Sothis', which could override Byleth's soul, and she is quite eager to see this happen (granted, Rhea is a tad unclear if she sees Byleth as a host or Sothis reincarnated or something in-between). Then all of a sudden, the Flame Emperor arrives and orders a raid for the Crest Stones in the tombs. What happens next depends on the route; for Blue Lions, Dimitri has a mental breakdown when he learns who the Flame Emperor really is, while for the Black Eagles, it's revealed that their house leader, Edelgard, was behind the attacks on the monastery, and is the Flame Emperor. Eventually, provided that they witnessed Edelgard's coronation earlier, Byleth is forced into a Sadistic Choice: execute the teen student they have grown to become attached to over the year and has shown herself willing to commit atrocities for her vision of a better Fódlan, despite your time together, or refuse and become the enemy of the Church and thus the rest of Fódlan. With the Golden Deer, the reactions of Claude and Byleth would seem much more subdued but they certainly feel betrayed that Edelgard, someone they thought was a friend over the course of the year, had been involved with many of the atrocities occurring in the past few chapters.
  • If Ashe fights the Western Church's bishop in his and Catherine's shared paralogue, he delivers the following line with none of his usual kindness, sounding dangerously close to post-timeskip pre-Character Development Dimitri.
    • While minor compared to the other items on the page, Ashe's angry portrait can come as a shock to the unprepared, due to the lack of definition on his pupils combined with the heavier use of shadows compared to other characters. And yes, this portrait is used during the above line.
  • Even five years later, Flayn will remark in a monastery conversation that she is still working through the trauma she experienced from being kidnapped at the Death Knight's hands, imprisoned and drained of her blood.
  • Ingrid and Dorothea's paralogue contains a nasty dose of Adult Fear, in the form of the merchant trying to kidnap Ingrid so he can force her to marry him, with all that it implies, and with the secondary goal of killing everyone who has accompanied her to the battlefield so as to not leave behind any witnesses.
  • While at her scariest on Crimson Flower, Rhea is still pretty creepy at times before the timeskip, especially with the "benefit" of hindsight. With the captured raiders from the Western Church she is shown to be completely remorseless in killing anyone she views as a violent threat to the church (albeit the targets in said scene were caught in the act, and even the notably fair Seteth has zero issues with the punishment, and Shamir points out the extent of their crimes means the punishment stands regardless of anything else). Rhea explains to Byleth in one of their supports that this is quite intentional, that her role as Archbishop often requires a "sterness of words and actions," i.e. she believes she needs to inspire a certain degree of fear. She's also very secretive even to those most loyal to her. And, of course, there's the lap pillow scene, which at first seems to simply be Rhea comforting Byleth but at the same time Rhea has never treated Byleth like this before, implying that something's definitely up.
  • The chapter openings hold their own share of horror. Pre-timeskip, we get pleasant monologues about Fodlan and the various customs of her people as the months pass and the seasons change. Cue post-timeskip and those same bright pictures that accompanied said monologues are now a backdrop as embers of fire burn and the chapter describes the progress of the war now engulfing the world. It's unsettling when you witness the change and realize that the war is the primary thing on anyone's mind right now.
  • Seiros tossing away her sword, pummeling Nemesis with her bare hands, and stabbing him in a vengeance-fueled frenzy is both frightening and impressive. Her cradling his blood-soaked sword to her cheek while telling her mother her hated enemy is dead is more singularly disturbing, though. And looking at this while knowing the full context in the Verdant Wind route make this even worse because the Sword of the Creator was made from the bones of her mother Sothis.

    Crimson Flower 
  • If you choose to side with Edelgard in the Holy Tomb, Rhea shoots one hell of a Death Glare at Byleth (an inverted Kubrick Stare that borders on being a Nightmare Face), and her tone completely changes to one of pure rage. It's incredibly unnerving to watch, considering how calm and gentle she usually was. And she gets even WORSE from that point on.
    Rhea: So, this is the choice you have made. You are just another failure. Your presence soils this Holy Tomb and disgraces my brethren. I will NOT allow one who would lend our enemies strength to wield the power of the goddess Sothis. I… have passed judgment, and now I shall rip your chest open, and TAKE BACK YOUR HEART MYSELF!
    • Then when Edelgard moves in to conquer the monastery, if Byleth engages Rhea in battle, she immediately starts screaming and ranting at them for their betrayal.
      Rhea: You worthless piece of garbage... I WILL PUNISH YOU MYSELF!
    • After the Time Skip, you can talk to a soldier in your camp who defected from the Knights of Seiros, who tells you that Rhea has changed for the worse, sometimes spouting gibberish. Byleth siding with Edelgard was, effectively, the final straw for her, and she has nothing but sheer rage for your betrayal, and has herself gone truly insane.
    • The setting of the final battle. Seiros responds to Edelgard's request for Fhirdiad's surrender by having the city burnt to the ground, with the civilians still inside. Catherine is completely horrified at this course of action, and Seiros doesn't give a shit.
      Seiros: I have no patience for foolish questions. I shall sacrifice as many lives as it takes! That apostate who insists on taking everything from me WILL BE CRUSHED BY MY OWN HANDS!!!
    • Rhea's threats in general are nightmarish. Imagine the kindly and motherly (if shady) Archbishop you've come to know degenerate into a violent, deranged, and bloodthirsty antagonist whose fury is directed solely at you. The moment that provokes her rage is quite telling, as she doesn't try to understand why Byleth protected Edelgard, try to reason with them, or anything rational like that; she instantly assumes Byleth to be a villain and labels them a failure. Her threats are especially nightmarish for players with a religious disposition.
    • What makes all this even worse is how much it calls back to previous titles in the series where dragons/Manaketes would degenerate into madness and have to be forcibly put down. She's got perhaps more rage to her than Duma or Medeus did, but the obsessive quest for her goal is much the same. And, given her similarities in appearance to Mila and how quickly the previously kind and motherly Mila flew into a berserk rage when Rudolf attacked her, it can make one question if this might have been what Mila would have become had she not been defeated and killed literally as soon as her madness started hitting her...
      • What makes this even scarier is the fact that there's nothing to suggest on this route that the Nabateans suffer from dragon degeneration. Indech and Macuil have lived isolated from the rest of the world in their beastly states for hundreds of years and their sanity seems none the worse for it, meaning that Rhea's insanity is entirely a product of the trauma the Red Canyon tragedy put her through, which the events of part one and Byleth betraying her brought to the forefront in full force.
  • Rhea's death cutscene is surprisingly graphic, with Byleth and Edelgard slashing her head in unison, green blood seeping from the gashes, and her falling backwards with her head lying in a pool of her own blood. This could come as a shock to those who play this route after Azure Moon and Silver Snow, whose final bosses get the Dying as Yourself treatment.
  • Dimitri and the Blue Lions as antagonists fall into this. Despite seemingly being more sane and composed in this route, with both eyes intact, Dimitri is still a broken man who willingly works with a deranged Rhea to get at Edelgard (note that even Seteth, Flayn, and several members of the Church see how far she's fallen, to the point where some are eager to bail out). But that's nothing to the other Blue Lions; Dedue convinces several soldiers loyal to Dimitri to turn themselves into Demonic Beasts just to have a chance to win, and Dedue himself is willing to turn too. What's worse is that the other Blue Lions on the map, like Sylvain, are fully complicit in the action, and he even calls the transformation a chance for revenge despite the fact he saw his own brother painfully transform into one. Even Dimitri is horrified at what Dedue and the others did, and can only accept it since the stones will turn them no matter what, if they aren't killed in one quick strike. On the final map, the two surviving Lions, Annette and Ashe, two of the sweetest members of the Lions, are letting Fhirdiad burn despite it being their own capital, not even trying to save anyone, are focusing on killing the Black Eagles, and are willingly fighting alongside a deranged Seiros despite her actions, because they believe it's the only way they can protect their people and Kingdom. To see the otherwise most heroic house turn to fallen heroes, trying to save their homeland, is just terrifying and a tearjerker. At least Sylvain, Ashe, and Annette can be recruited and thus saved from going down this path, but nothing can be done about Dimitri and Dedue.
  • With the introduction of Jeritza AKA the Death Knight as a DLC Unit, we get a little more insight into his character. His battle lines and the delivery make him sound more traumatized than a bloodthirsty demon. It turns out that the Death Knight and Jeritza are two separate split personalities, and the Death Knight doesn't discriminate against friend or foe until his bloodlust is satiated; and even then, not even Mercedes, his sister, is 100% safe as an ally.
    • And speaking of Mercedes, Jeritza reveals why he killed his father: Once Jeritza (Emile von Bartels) was born, his father became abusive and neglectful to Mercedes and their mother, until they fled for their own safety. When their father discovered that Mercedes and her mother were in a church, he wanted to bring them back in order to make more Crest babies. The problem? The mother was past the point of bearing children, so the sick depraved bastard was going to make Mercedes into his new wife in order to have more Crest babies... bear in mind, Mercedes must have been in her early teens at this point. Jeritza killed his dad and the rest of house Bartels, to maintain their safety. Even with this motive in mind, Emile was still at most in his early teens when he killed them, and the trauma affected him and gave birth to the Death Knight personality, as he was so broken by what he had done that he basically couldn't consciously do any of it, and doesn't remember it.
    • In order to keep Jeritza safe from himself, and the world safe from him as a serial killer, Edelgard found Jeritza a new home, a place to hunt, and an army to focus his violent urges through, so that he could keep them as close to under control as possible. And even then that only mostly helps, and he's still quite dangerous to be around (and the rumors about him we see in the game imply he still ends up killing civilians while undercover).
    • Jeritza's support with Bernadetta have each of them find a kindred, traumatized, loner spirit. Which is pretty disturbing on how common such experiences can be. But it's also a little heartwarming, as Bernadetta not only willingly comes out of her shell, but drags Jeritza out of his.
    • Almost all of Jeritza's supports have him state that even if he loves someone (familially or romantically), he could very well wind up losing control and killing them. Everyone consents to that reality and think he's worth dying with and for, but his mood barely changes, because if it does happen, he's alone again with yet another death of kin on his hands.
  • Mercedes' and Jeritza's, Lysithea's and Edelgard's, and many other stories, show just how far Adrestian nobility will go to flaunt Crests as a form of power, and really puts into perspective why Edelgard despises the nobility of the Empire and its obsession with Crests, and why she's willing to fight a war: to make sure the forced breeding, experimentation, inequality, and condemned fates never happen again. Without drastic action, they very easily could happen to children for many years to come. Ironically, Edelgard's methods and circumstances mean that she has to ally with the very forces enabling the worst of these experiments, "those who slither in the dark".
  • If Ignatz is recruited, after taking Deirdru, he drops this little gem:
    Ignatz: [with his happy portrait] To think, I saw the end of the Leicester Alliance with my own eyes.
    • Ignatz in general has several low-key disturbing moments on this route if recruited. He is the only former Golden Deer to not mention Claude after Deirdru (in any fashion), seems eager to assist in conquering Faerghus, and even mentions that he only joined the Black Eagle Strike Force again because he heard Byleth was back.

    Silver Snow 
  • This route's final boss. It's a berserk Rhea, and halfway through the battle, she's so far gone that she degenerates into a form that not even Seteth has seen before, her portrait changing to look like her skin is practically rotting. Seteth, someone who bears Undying Loyalty to her normally, gives the order to Mercy Kill her with almost no hesitation. That should tell you something. Now bear in mind how crazy she is on the Crimson Flower route. She didn't show this form there, implying that her current mental state is even worse. She doesn't even speak in this form, so it's possible that she's not even self-aware anymore. And unlike in Crimson Flower, this change happens very suddenly with minimal foreshadowing.
    • Making this worse is that, due to the higher-ranking Church members being infused with her blood and pieces of her Crest Stone, they all go berserk with her, some turning into dragons.
    • As mentioned above, it calls back to other dragons in the series who degenerated into madness and had to be forcibly put downnote .

    Azure Moon 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/5436a2fb_3a3a_49c3_9ff9_652efc6ae54e.jpeg
Dimitri’s dark side, everybody.note 

  • In Chapter 8, if you fail to save any of the villagers from Solon, Dimitri threatens to slaughter Solon in the same unhinged tone of voice he uses for most of Part II.
    Dimitri: ...I WILL CUT YOU TO SHREDS!!!
    • Even before this he's barely able to keep it together when watching the chaos unfolding around him, calling for the heads of those responsible and getting angrier from there.
  • Dimitri's Freak Out in Chapter 11 is terrifying to watch. It starts when the Flame Emperor's mask breaks, and he realizes her identity is Edelgard, his own step-sister. Upon being faced with evidence that she (in his mind) is complicit with the Tragedy of Duscur, which has tormented him for four years, he starts laughing maniacally and puts on this Nightmare Face. Then he outright screams about the colorful way he's going to kill her before charging in. Several of her soldiers step in, and we witness Dimitri pummeling them with his bare fists in an utterly brutal fashion, including grabbing one by the face and snapping their neck. With one hand (or possibly crushing the soldier's skull with said hand, in a Gory Discretion Shot). He then glances up, splattered with blood, and gives a deranged grin.
    Dimitri: I've been looking for you... I will take that head from your shoulders AND HANG IT FROM THE GATES OF ENBARR!!!
  • Seeing Dimitri's trauma come to the fore over the course of the route is more than a little unsettling. He starts out as an earnest and noble prince, desiring to bring about a better future for his kingdom and agonizing over the harsh realities of war when Lonato rebels against the church. But then his Knight in Shining Armor facade briefly cracks when dealing with the horrific scene at Remire Village. Then it's revealed that he lost the majority of his family in a horrific assassination, still having nightmares about the victims screaming and dying amidst flames, hearing his father's voice demanding vengeance. He describes himself as blacking out in moments of intense violence, and Felix describes him as once having acted like a beast that loved nothing more than shedding blood on the battlefield. After the above-mentioned breakdown, when you receive news that Edelgard will be leading the Imperial army to invade the monastery, he is disturbingly gleeful about appeasing the ghosts of his past with her head — he barely seems to notice that the others are there…
    Dimitri: My father. My stepmother. My dear friends. They want her head. They want her life. They've whispered as much to me. And the chance to answer their pleas has arrived, at long last!
    Byleth: Don't lose control out there.
    Dimitri: Hahaha! I'm always in control, Professor! And I'll stay in control until I get the pleasure of killing that woman. Let's move, Professor. Even if it costs me my life, I won't rest until I've crushed her skull in my bare hands!
    • Jump forward five years, and he's become so bitter, empty and paranoid that his first thought upon learning that Byleth is alive (rather than another ghost) is to assume they're an Imperial spy. He rants about the "vile rats" infesting the ruins of the monastery and becomes incensed when Byleth points out that some of them might just be stealing to survive. When an Imperial general, Randolph, is captured, Dimitri offers him the Sadistic Choice of either witnessing his comrades be executed one at a time or the 'lighter' option of having his eyes put out. His reaction when Byleth gives the poor guy a Mercy Kill is to laugh and say he doesn't care about virtue anymore; he's going to use you and his former friends for the sake of his revenge until the flesh falls from your bones. He gets better by the end of the game, but the player could be forgiven for thinking Dimitri's gone off the deep end and is not coming back.
  • If you do not recruit Bernadetta pre-timeskip, her fate is very likely this. In the second Gronder Field battle, Edelgard assigns her to hold the central hill, which allows a quick route to any faction's camp, including Edelgard's own wooden fortress. Should you try to spare her and attack the Black Eagles flank instead, Edelgard sets the hill on fire while the Leicester Alliance army subverts Mook Chivalry and attacks it with their whole force. As such, Bernadetta likely dies surrounded by enemies and flames with no chance to retreat.
  • By the end of the route, Edelgard is backed into a corner and she knows it. Her city has been seized by the Kingdom army and Hubert is dead. So, she plays the only card she has left in her hand and turns herself into a massive abomination known as Hegemon Edelgard using the power of her Crests. It is not pretty to look at.
  • Edelgard in general on this route. As if Dimitri's insanity wasn't enough, playing this part can be best summarised as watching someone you went to school with becoming a brutal military dictator, who insists Violence Is the Only Option until the end, no matter how many lives the war claims.
  • Fleche's attempt to kill Dimitri is both heartbreaking and frightening to watch, with the heartbreaking part showcasing just how cruel the effects of war can be on an otherwise normal person, the cycle of revenge, and the frightening part showing just how utterly deranged Fleche looks as she rants about Randolph's death. This is a complete contrast to her portrayal in Crimson Flower, in which Fleche is seen as a soldier who's happy and eager to help her brother and serve in the Imperial army. Even though she also loses her brother in this route during the Church's attempt to take back Garreg Mach, she is shown to keep it together for the sake of her remaining family and to honor her fallen brother.
    Fleche: AHAHAHAHA! Have I caught you off guard, Your Highness? Aww, does it hurt? I bet it hurts reaaal bad, doesn't it?! But it's nothing compared to what my brother felt! You will never be forgiven, you know. I will NEVER FORGIVE YOU! YOU FILTHY MONSTER! IT'S TIME TO DIIIIIIIIE!!!
  • In one of her supports with Dimitri, Flayn will confide that she has to deal with a deep-seated fear of sleep. Namely the fear that she will fall into a sleep so deep that when she awakens so much time will have passed that everyone she loved will be dead and gone. This fear is due to her having experienced such a scenario, having slept through much of the last thousand years in order to heal her body from injuries she suffered in the war with Nemesis.
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    Verdant Wind 
  • During the battle of Fort Merceus, the Death Knight begins to run away from the fight, giving an ominous warning for Byleth to do the same. As he escapes he points to the sky, to which Byleth and the nearby soldiers witness modern-day ballistic missiles raining down from afar. These "javelins of light" completely destroy the famously-impenetrable fortress, leaving giant craters where the crumbled remains of the town are. Barely getting missed by such overwhelming power, all Byleth and the soldiers can do is stare in shock at the aftermath (one even begins to laugh), completely dumbfounded and horrified. While it also happens in the Silver Snow route, it's arguably more effective in Verdant Wind because of how relatively more lighthearted it had been compared to the other routes, making the contrast all the more jarring.
  • It's revealed that Nemesis killed Sothis in her sleep, and her bones and heart were used to make the Sword of the Creator. Nemesis then used the Sword to massacre her children at Zanado, and their remains were used to create the other Relics. (No wonder Seiros hates him so much…)
  • At the end of the route, Nemesis is unsealed in Shambhala after the "javelins of light" destroy it. Along with the 10 Elites, he approaches Garreg Mach, destroying entire villages along the way. Not even Hilda's brother Holst can do anything to stop them, even though he has been described as a powerful general who has been able to fend off the Almyrans. He ends up at death's door, almost dying from his injuries.
  • Then there's Nemesis himself. He's not even a Revenant Zombie, but a vengeful, near-mindless warrior with the strength to match. With glowing red eyes and the Voice of the Legion, Nemesis will stop at nothing to kill Rhea/Seiros, and is an unstoppable force that only Byleth and Claude together can bring down.

    Cindered Shadows (DLC) 
  • Aelfric's character. At first, he seems like a pretty nice person and even reveals he knew Byleth's mother...but him finding her well-preserved corpse and discovering the records about the Rite of Rising led to him attempting to bring her back. And by that, we mean sacrifice the Ashen Wolves - the descendants of the Four Apostles that once attempted to perform the ritual 995 years ago - all the while acting as pleasant as when we were first introduced to him. His polite demeanor, even when calmly informing the Ashen Wolves that they will be sacrificed, is not only jarring but downright unsettling.
  • The Final Boss is the result of Aelfric failing the Rite of Rising. The Chalice of Beginnings absorbs and fuses the corpse of Byleth's mother Sitri with Aelfric, using his and the Ashen Wolves' blood, and the end result is not pretty. The rite transforms Aelfric into the Umbral Beast, which makes him look like a disgusting zombified version of The Immaculate One, with a dragon-like skull, veins strewn about his body, and he even spews out globs of blood whenever he attacks anyone close to him. While the screen mercifully fades to black for the actual fusion, the sound effects combined with the appearance of the resulting monstrosity make amply clear that it's a Gory Discretion Shot.
  • Tying with the Umbral Beast, Rhea's reaction to it appearing is along the lines of "it's happened again." It's safe to assume she is referring to the attempt she and the Four Apostles made after the War of Heroes to resurrect Sothis. While officially the attempt merely failed and the Apostles left out of shame, it's possible that the failure was more a disaster than the records told, turning whatever body they made or procured for Sothis to inhabit into an Umbral Beast.

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