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Recap / Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light

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The continent of Archanea, even before it became Ylisse, offered an extremely rich history.

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    Backstory - Founding of Archanea 
In the beginning, the dragon civilization, comprised of various dragon tribes led by the Divine Dragons and their King Naga, flourished on the continent of Archanea. Humans existed too, but were not a proper civilization. After three millennia, an unknown great catastrophe befell the dragons. At first, they could no longer bear children and then, they started to lose their minds, degenerating into wild beasts. The elders warned of the end of the dragon civilization and advised the tribes to seal their powers in Dragonstones, which would allow them to live on in human form.

The dragons fell into a panic. Those who believed the elders sealed their forms within stones and became humans. But those who couldn't throw away their pride as a dragons eventually lost their minds. Among those that refused to seal their powers were the Earth Dragons. They refused to turn into Manaketes, except for the prince of their tribe, Medeus, who recognized the inevitable end. The degenerated Earth Dragons rampaged across the continent, forcing Naga to battle against them. For this purpose, Naga created the divine blade Falchion out of her fang to fight the dragons as well as the Binding Shield, an artifact consisting of the Fire Emblem and 5 spheres of great power that would used to seal the dragons underneath Dragon's Table in Dolhr. The sole Earth Dragon who agreed to become a Manakete was charged with keeping watch over the sealed Earth dragons.

Naga then placed her newly born daughter, Tiki, into a deep sleep in the Ice Dragon Temple and sealed the artifacts Falchion and the Binding Shield at the Fane of Raman, along with the Three Regalia: the sword, Mercurius; the lance, Gradivus; and the bow, Parthia. Naga's faithful follower, Gotoh, was given the task of keeping watch over the artifacts. Gotoh would also found an academy in the desert of Khadein where he taught the secrets of magic to humanity, although he would grow disillusioned with humanity when they used his magic for violence.

Unfortunately, many years later, a thief called Adrah snuck into the Fane and stole the Binding Shield, along with the Three Regalia. With the orbs separated and sold, he gathered enough money to raise an army and conquer the continent. He founded the Holy Kingdom of Archanea, made the three weapons into sacred heirlooms, and dubbed the Binding Shield as the Fire Emblem, the symbol of his royal family. However, since Adrah accomplished all those with underhanded means, rumors has it that his descendant would be cursed because of it.

    Backstory - First War Against Dolhr 

500 years passed after Archanea's founding. By this time, the status quo of the humans and dragonkin had reversed. The humans had grown prideful and began abusing the helpless dragonkin who did not retaliate due to their fear of losing their minds. Meanwhile, Medeus continued to keep watch over the sleeping Earth Dragons, but the abuses against his kin grew far too much for him to tolerate any longer. Medeus then formed the Dolhr Empire as a refuge for dragonkin and ultimately, he chose to wage war against the humans, abandoning his duty of watching over the Earth Dragons. His troops struck Archanea, wiping out its royal family, save for Princess Artemis. The princess chose Duke Cartas as the wielder of Fire Emblem to rally the people against the might of Dolhr before being forced to flee. Since the forces of Dolhr were targeting Artemis, she fled to Altea, a province of Archanea. Artemis would meet and befriend a charming youth named Anri who lived with his brother Marcelus. Anri and Artemis eventually fell in love while she was in hiding. Duke Cartas, meanwhile, continued to the fight against Dolhr. He gathered many more allies, including his younger brother Marlon who had gained the trust of the plainspeople living in what would eventually become Aurelis. Ordwin, a military commander stationed in the Grust region also joined the fight. Meanwhile, a rebellion broke out among the slaves of Dolhr. Leading these slaves was Iote, who managed the incredible feat of taming the degenerated Wyvern tribe and rode them into battle after others followed in his example.

Archsage Gotoh, hearing of the events that had unfolded, decided to aid the humans. Whispers began circulating of a divine blade hidden far away that could combat the dragons. Anri heard of these whispers and took it upon himself to claim this blade. He made the journey alone, braving the Mamorthod desert which lay beyond Khadein, the fiery volcanoes at Flame Barrel where the degenerated Fire dragons would go to die and finally the icy peaks of the mountains where the Ice Dragon Temple stood. Inside, he met Gotoh, whose guidance had allowed him to reach this far, and he was given the divine blade Falchion to combat Medeus.

In the meantime, Cartas, along with his allies Iote, Ordwin, and Marlon, performed well against Dolhr's forces. However, he quickly lost the tide of war when Medeus decided to personally enter the battlefield himself. The power of an Earth Dragon was too much for Cartas and mere mortals with normal weaponry or even the Three Regalia were unable to stand against him. When all hoped seemed lost, Anri appeared with Falchion and did battle with Medeus, ultimately defeating the Emperor of Dolhr. Though the casualties were high, the war was won and the process of rebuilding nations began.

Since Anri was a mere peasant at that time, the people wouldn't accept him as king of Archanea. Though Artemis truly loved him, she chose Cartas as her husband. Although she did not dislike Cartas, it was not love she felt for him and though she bore him an heir, she died in childbirth. It is said that Artemis cursed the Fire Emblem itself, calling it "the end of war, but also the end of love." This curse would be known as Artemis' Curse, which would supposedly haunt the Archanean house for days to come whenever it changed hands. Still, Duke Cartas rebuilt Archanea into a successful kingdom once again, with the Fire Emblem and the Three Regalia continuing to serve as symbols of the great nation. Other nations sprang up too. Marlon would found the nation of Aurelis in the plains of Archanea. Iote would gather his fellow slaves and formed Macedon, which became famed for its Dracoknights. Ordwin made the region of Grust into its own kingdom. The heartbroken Anri returned to Altea with Falchion in hand to form his own kingdom as well, although he never married and left no heir, thus the rule of Altea would pass to his younger brother Marcelus. The succession crisis led to the formation of a faction which opposed Marcelus and they split from Altea, forming the neighbouring kingdom of Gra. In the years that followed, the small island nation of Talys was formed by uniting the tribes that lived on the island. And thus, the seven kingdoms of Archanea were formed: Archanea, Aurelis, Grust, Macedon, Altea, Gra and Talys. While they remained free, each of them swore fealty to Archanea in times of need. Meanwhile, the defeated Empire of Dolhr lingered on, and the wounds of the abuses the dragonkin had suffered lingered too...

    Prelude of the War of Shadows 

Years passed, and Archanea was at peace. Around this time, Gotoh was planning on retiring from the leadership of Khadein, and found two candidates to succeed him as the new Pontifex, two of his brightest students, Miloah and Gharnef. Miloah possessed a kind and compassionate heart, which Gharnef lacked. Based on this, Gotoh named Miloah his successor and granted him the spell tome Aura. Gharnef was consumed with jealousy over this, and in turn, stole another secret spell, named Imhullu. The spell was a dark one as it corrupted Gharnef's soul and continued to twist him into a man that was bent on destroying the world. He escaped from Khadein, biding his time.

Shortly after, Dolhr was recovering. This was just the event Gharnef needed to kickstart his plan to drown the world into oblivion. First, he murdered Miloah and took over Khadein, and also using the knowledge there to revive Medeus. Then, he spread rumors to the ambitious Prince Michalis of Macedon that his father King Osmond planned to choose his sister Princess Minerva as heir. Michalis had his father killed and took control of Macedon, forming a convenient alliance with Dolhr to prove his homeland's might. In this turn of events, the Grust Kingdom was overwhelmed with fear and surrendered to the Dolhr alliance.

Gharnef then had Dolhr's forces attack Altea to capture Princess Elice, wielder of the Aum Staff, which could raise the dead. King Cornelius of Altea stood ready with Falchion at hand to retaliate against Dolhr. However, before they could make a move, the Kingdom of Gra under King Jiol defected to Dolhr, slaughtering Cornelius and his men in the process. Only one soldier would survive this tragedy, a cavalier named Cain.

Cain caught up to Cornelius' son, Marth, and his entourage of bodyguards, consisting of the Paladin Jagen, his fellow cavaliers Abel and Frey, and the strategist Malledus. Marth himself had been told by Elice to retreat to Talys while she stayed behind and let herself be captured. Along the way, they also rescued an Altean archer Gordin, but the forces of Jiol, intending to slay every one of the Altean royal family, were closing in on them. Without any other choice, Frey offered himself to be a decoy, so Marth could escape. An escort by the knight Draug and archer Norne came to Marth's aid with a ship setting to sail to Talys ready. As he looked at his invaded home, Marth swore to return and reclaim everything...

Arriving at Talys, Marth was welcomed as a guest. He became friends with the Kingdom's princess, Caeda. Meanwhile, the Archanean Kingdom and their allies still stood as they faced the Dolhr alliance.

    The War of Shadows — To The Mainland 

As two years passed, Marth and his fellow Altean army has honed their skills to return to the real battlefield, especially after helping Caeda drive away the invading pirates under Gazzak, with the help of a curate named Wrys. King Mostyn of Talys gave Marth his blessings to join the war and not only reclaim Altea, but also save Archanea. Caeda went along and brought her band of bodyguards; axemen Cord, Bord, Barst, and their leader, ex-gladiator Ogma; to help assist Marth, and along the way also recruited the archer Castor. A pirate by the name of Darros also stopped by to offer his services to Marth, expressing his wish to start anew.

Marth's army passed through the Samsooth Mountains, better known as Ghoul's Teeth, where they were accosted with the Soothsires, notorious bandits. One of them, Julian, however, defected after being won over by one of their captives, the sister Lena. The two made their way to Marth's army for protection as Marth attempted to drive away the bandits. However, the bandits have one trump card, they have the services of a mighty swordsman known as the Scarlet Fencer, Navarre. Thankfully for Marth, Caeda swept in and barred Navarre's path. Taken over with his principles to not harm any women, Navarre decided to turn over and fight for Marth instead. With Julian and Navarre's help, Marth destroyed the Soothsires and made his way to Aurelis.

The Dolhr forces, consisting of Macedonian soldiers, arrived just around the border of Aurelis, but thankfully for Marth, his childhood friend Merric came to help him with his new spell, Excalibur. One of the cavaliers amongst the enemies, Matthis, turned out to be Lena's brother, whom she also convinced to fight for Marth's cause. After restocking, Marth's army caught up with the forces of Aurelis protecting Princess Nyna of Archanea; led by Prince Hardin and his Wolfguards, Wolf, Sedgar, Roshea, and Vyland. After the battle, Marth and Hardin struck an alliance and then assaulted the fortress where Nyna was held. Along the way, Julian also picked up his fellow thief Rickard to the squad while Merric reunited with his master Wendell. As it turned out, Nyna was the Sole Survivor of the Archanean royal family, the rest of her kin having been slain by Dolhr forces. As such, after witnessing Marth's bravery, she entrusted him with the Fire Emblem to lead the Archanean army, now christened Archanean League. Not long afterwards, Marth stopped by at a village after hearing rumors of child abductions and sweeps away the bandits around the village with the help of an unusual swordswoman named Athena.

    The War of Shadows — Retaking Archanea 

Marth then marched to the Archanea Palace, crossing over to Lefcandith Gauntlet where his forces would clash with the Grust-Macedon coalition. However, within the ranks of the enemy, the commander of Macedon army, Princess Minerva, had a disagreement with the Grust's tactics that held her back, but she had to obey, lest something happened to her sister Maria. But eventually Minerva couldn't bear to witness any further and retreated, taking along her three Pegasus Knight bodyguards, the Whitewings consisting of sisters Palla, Catria, and Est. While fighting the remaining Grust-Macedon forces, Marth came across a Fire Dragon Manakate named Bantu. After helping him recover his Dragonstone, he agreed to help Marth. Malledus then used this chance to brief Marth about the history of Manakate and how Anri defeated the terror of Medeus.

Afterwards, Marth's army decided to rest in a port town of Warren. However, the Grust army surrounded them, forcing them to flee, although Marth's army had the help of two sellswords, Caesar and Radd. Additionally, a hapless knight named Roger also defected from Grust to Marth's army after Caeda apparently 'seduced' him. Retreating to the Kingdom of Pyrathi, Marth had to contend with its Manakate Lord that didn't take interlopers kindly, but he had the help of a certain 'traveling archer' of Archanea named Jeorge. Just as they finished the battle, however, Marth was visited by one of the Whitewings, Catria. She relayed a message that Minerva has wanted to join forces with Marth, but couldn't do anything so long as her sister Maria was held in captivity, so she urged Marth to rescue Maria who was held in Castle Deil.

While several of the Archanean League suspected that Catria was playing a ruse to trap them, Marth decided to trust her and headed to the castle. And she was not at all lying. Marth managed to rescue Maria and then this allowed Minerva to finally join Marth and fight to restore Macedon's honor. After cleaning up the enemies in the castle, Nyna notified to Marth about how Miloah was murdered by Gharnef... and yet his daughter Linde survived although her whereabouts were unknown afterwards. Nyna then urged Marth to find Linde.

Marth's army finally arrived at the Archanea Palace where Nyna reminisces the harsh fates that befell to her family when she fled the palace, all of them slaughtered. Before arriving in the palace, Marth made a stop to the nearby Knorda Market to stock up, but found out that bandits has rounded up several Archaneans. After scaring them off and telling the captives to go home, one particular boy seemed to want to stick with Marth. The boy revealed himself to be a girl in disguise, as it turned out it was Linde, who took on the guise to hide from Gharnef after he killed her father, but then fell to these bandits. But with Marth's help, she's positive that she could have a shot in avenging her father. Noticing a fellow mage, Merric also quickly befriended Linde. Within the same market, Marth also heard the plea of a villager named Anna who wanted to convince her boyfriend Jake to stop fighting for Grust. Caeda flew to Jake's side to do the convincing and he joined Marth's army with Anna's permission.

Marth succeeded in taking the gate of the Archanea Palace, but he still had to fight off the soldiers holed within the palace itself. After rescuing Archanean Paladin Midia, bishop Boah, knights Dolph and Macellan, and the archer Tomas; Marth liberated the palace and as a reward, Nyna gave him the only Regalia she could find, the bow Parthia. Shortly after, Marth continued to liberate the surrounding parts of Archanea with little resistance, except on the western region, where a traitor of the Archanea army named Horace mounted resistance. He swore allegiance to the Dolhr army and marked as a traitor, but only doing so because he was protecting the village from being razed if he didn't turn over. After hearing these from the villagers, Marth avoided fighting Horace and struck down the Dolhr representative. With that, Horace surrendered and asked for punishment for him and him only, while his men would be spared. The villagers came to his defense and Nyna already understood the situation, commending Horace for protecting the innocents and commanded him to join Marth's army as a result.

    The War of Shadows — Liberation of Altea 

Marth's next target is to liberate Altea. He had to pass Fort Menedy, filled with Ballisticians of Grusts, although there was a Ballistician named Beck offering his services to Marth instead. Within the fort as well, Midia reunited with her lover Astram and convinced him to join the Archanean League, although Astram made it clear that his loyalty was with Nyna and the Archanean royal family. The army would arrive at Gra next. Marth has had a thought to exact righteous vengeance against Jiol for all he's done, but after the last battle, he felt that he could no longer fight with hate alone, but something grander beyond that. In the face of the Archanean League, Jiol panicked and attempted to call for reinforcements by either Grust or Macedon, but found none, and while Macedonian forces came under the command of two Whitewings, Palla and Catria, they instead went over to Marth.

While Marth succeeded in avenging his father, unfortunately he couldn't find the Falchion. Malledus reported that Gharnef went away with it. Marth decided to pursue Gharnef through Khadein, but then he started to learn the hard way that with the spell Imhullu at hand, Gharnef was invincible. Gharnef then beckoned Marth to come and face him in the Temple of Thabes. In also that time, Marth was contacted by Archsage Gotoh, who told him the secret of defeating Gharnef: The spell Starlight.

With nothing else to do in Khadein, Marth resumed his march to Altea. He came across an enigmatic Manakete named Xane, who could shapeshift into anyone he wanted, and welcomed him to his army. He also passed through two villages, one containing the paladin Arran, one containing the hero Samson, but generations of bad blood between the villages meant that Arran alone joined Marth's cause. Entering the castle, Marth learned that his mother was killed by the Manakate leader of the Dolhr forces occupying the castle, while his sister was taken away by Gharnef. After defeating him, Marth managed to put aside his sadness and greet his people for the liberation of his home.

Afterwards, Marth decided to strike at the nearby Helena Castle, occupied by Grust, where he ended up recruiting a sorcerer named Etzel who was coerced to fight for Grust.

    The War of Shadows — Subjugation of Grust and Macedonia 

Marth then decided to complete the spell of Starlight in order to stand a chance against Gharnef, thus he set off to the Fane of Raman in Chiamsir. However, his path was blocked by the Grustian Sable Knights. Fortunately for him, the last of the Whitewings, Est, flew to him bearing Mercurius, which she managed to pilfer from Dolhr in a daring solo mission.

Marth was a bit late to arrive to the Fane of Raman, though. Gharnef was there first and he managed to put its guardian, Tiki, into a trance, trying to kill its invaders. Thankfully, Bantu was able to snap Tiki back to her senses and she happily joined Marth's entourage, now affectionally calling him 'Mar-Mar'.

Unfortunately for Nyna, Marth knew that to advance against Dolhr and Gharnef, they had to invade Grust. And within Grust stood someone that Nyna did not want to meet in the battle, someone she truly loved after he saved her during the invasion of the Archanea Palace: The honorable leader of the Sable Knights, Camus. Despite his weak-willed King Ludwik cowing so quickly to the Dolhr Kingdom, he still stood by the honor of his kingdom, despite having no ill-wills towards Marth's army, it's just the duty of a Knight to defend his king, no matter how weak he was. At the very least, with the help of Caeda, Marth managed to recruit a Grustian general by the name of Lorenz. Camus, however, fought to the bitter end with the last Regalia at hand, Gradivus. He was seemingly killed, but his body was never found. Nyna mourned at his loss, as it happened the same way as her ancestor Artemis... although she didn't realize that Camus barely survived and washed away in the shores of the neighboring Valentia without his memories...

The surviving Grust army holed up in a mountain area filled with lava, taking in several Grustians hostage to oppose Marth, and assigning a bulky warrior named Ymir to hold them off. However, Marth managed to convince him and struck against the Grustian forces. Marth then set his sights once more to Gharnef, this time crossing Macedon. In there, Gotoh attempted to convince the now King Michalis to stop his folly, but his pride would not allow him to back down, he had his own plans after he defeated the Archanean League. Faced with his former subordinates, including his sister Minerva, Michalis mounted a great resistance, but even with the Iote's Shield, he still fell.

    The War of Shadows — Final Battle with Dolhr 

With Grust and Macedon defeated, Marth only had Gharnef and Medeus to worry. With Gotoh's help and the completed Starlight spell, he and his army were warped into the Temple of Thabes, where Gharnef awaited with his three illusions like him. However, Marth figured out the real one and used Starlight to get past his invincibility thanks to Imhullu. The Dark Pontifex fell. Marth managed to rescue his sister Elice and reclaim the Falchion, but his journey was not yet over. He had to go to Dolhr itself and defeat Medeus once and for all.

Marth made his way to the heart of Dolhr, fighting past waves of Dolhr's army, reinforced with dozens of Manaketes, whose tough hides and breath weapons made a formidable foe. Elice volunteered to take the field just as the army passed by the Ressurectory, a sacred temple where the Aum staff lay, a legendary staff with the ability to raise the dead once, if used by a lady of the royal family. Arriving at castle Dolhr, even Gotoh decided to join in the fight, after a long time being disillusioned with mankind's folly, he decided to put the trust in mankind once more after seeing the likes of Marth. With the help of Falchion, Marth struck the fatal blow to Medeus and he was defeated all while claiming that he would return, as long as darkness lurks in the heart of men.

The war was over, Marth was preparing to return to his home at Altea. But there's still one challenge that he might find harder than defeating Medeus: Caeda came to talk to him about his plans for the future. Of course, Marth put his mind on returning to Altea and repairing his kingdom, but he promised to visit Talys and give his thanks to King Mostyn, missing out that Caeda was saddened that it meant they'll be separated. Nyna nudged Marth to just follow his heart that he actually loved Caeda but simply Cannot Spit It Out. Marth then decided to approach Caeda and told her, with some difficulties, that he wanted her to stay by his side as they return to Altea, that he loved and appreciated her. In the middle of Marth awkwardly figuring out the words to say it, Caeda simply told Marth that she felt the same way.