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Nightmare Fuel / Fire Emblem: Three Houses

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    General 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/3htransformation.JPG
This is just the start of the rabbit hole.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 by implication could override Byleth's soul, and she is quite eager to see this happen (though she rationalizes that Byleth will not be taken over or erased, but rather become who they really are, as she does not yet recognize Byleth was always their own person). 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, 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 Fodlan, despite your time together, or refuse and become the enemy of the Church and thus the rest of Fodlan. 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 behind 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.
    Ashe: Lonato's blood is on your hands...
    • 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.
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    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. (...) 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 Rudolph 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...
  • 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.
  • 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 blood thirsty demon. Turns out, that the Death Knight and Jeritza are two separate split personalities, and the Death Knight doesn't discriminate against friend or foe as long as his blood lust is satiated; even Mercedes is not 100% safe as an ally. And speaking of Mercedes, Jeritza reveals why he killed his father: he discovered that Mercedes and her mother were in a church, and 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. Understandably, Jeritza killed his dad and the rest of house Bartels, but even with this understandable motive in mind, the trauma affected him and gave birth to the Death Knight personality, showing 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 the obsession with crests.

    Silver Snow 
  • This route's final boss. It's a berserk Rhea, and halfway through the battle, she's so far gone she degenerates into a form 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 down.
      • One then begins to wonder how deep this might go, and just how stable Flayn and Seteth are...

    Azure Moon 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/3hbreakdown2.jpg
The moment the Nice Guy breaks is not a pretty one.
  • 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.
  • Dimitri's breakdown 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 snapping one's neck. With one hand. He then glances up, splattered with blood, and gives the deranged grin pictured above.
    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!!!

    Verdant Wind 
  • In the Golden Deer route, 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 getting severely injured, and almost dies from his injuries.
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