Title: Your Hands Brought the Morrow
Author's Note: It's almost been a year since I returned to FF, all thanks to picking up FE Fates and rediscovering Fire Emblem (after replaying Sacred Stones to the point of boredom and rage quitting too many times during Radiant Dawn. I still haven't played Awakening.) FE Fates is hardly perfect, but it got me back into the franchise.
Anyway, thank you guys for sticking with me! I really appreciate all your support.
Now, let's get on with the prologue and toward the astral plane, where the chapters will start to become more creative and fluffy again.
Enjoy, and Happy New Year to you all!
It was an abstract sensation to experience complete and utter betrayal.
Corrin had a terrible feeling in her stomach with facing down her father at Castle Krakenberg.
The conversation had begun cordially enough, despite the ominous tone.
"I see you made it here safely, Corrin," King Garon had said, a frown etched on his gray face. The cloaked man sat atop an elevated throne in a chamber almost entirely shrouded in blackness. The woman was used to the cold lifelessness of the Northern Fortress, and to say Castle Krakenberg was a spectacle as glamorous as she imagined would be dishonest.
"Yes Father," Corrin had replied, managing a smile despite the awful feeling in her gut. "Long have I wished to see you and Castle Krakenburg again. I feel…like I'm dreaming."
"It's thanks only to your own diligence that you are here," the king said dismissively, and Corrin felt a pang in her stomach.
The whole conversation had felt tense, and the foreboding pressure in the room was as thick and dark as steel wool. It was itchy and awful and all Corrin wanted to do was claw the unnatural feeling armor from her body and sprint from the room as fast as possible, back to the comparably bleak but familiar comforts of the Northern Fortress.
She listened as Garon talked of her Nohrian siblings being descendants from the ancient family of the First Dragons, thus allowing them to utilize dragon veins and harness their energy thanks to their loyal blood.
"Xander, Camilla and Leo have already learned to master their powers," Garon explained. "I expect nothing less of you."
"I am aware of your expectations, Father," Corrin replied automatically. While Corrin knew she was naïve to a fault, she was also impatient. As Jakob would say, she wished the older man would get to his bloody point already. Something wasn't right. She continued softly, "I have…trained every day to become more like my siblings."
"Hm…you show promise, Corrin," he answered wickedly. "But you will need a suitable weapon of you are to fight for Nohr."
Then her father did something utterly unexpected; he presented her with a tangible gift. It was the first time he'd given her anything.
Once more, it was a sword. A sword for fighting enemies…possibly on the battlefield alongside her family.
"This is Ganglari," Garon explained as c haze od dark magic seemed to create a blade right out of thin air. "It's a sword infused with magic from another world. With this sword at your side, you can crush to Hoshidan army with ease."
His words were faint as she stared in wonderment at the black and red blade. The garish blade looked like it was crafted from gnarled, matted flesh than mortal metal.
The whole situation seemed to flip along with Corrin's stomach as she took the gift known as Ganglari into her hand and gripped the handle with determination beyond her hears. Her father's ominous words felon deaf ears as a grin split her face.
"Thank you for this generous gift, Father," Corrin replied.
Yes, finally. It felt right. So right.
Xander watched from a distance with a deeply furrowed brow. He was eyeing the sword, and also seemed watchful of Corrin's overly keen interest in the blade."Hmmm…generous indeed."
She was ready for anything. Any trial her father could hurl at her, she felt her blood pound in her ears and scream with ultimate resolve that she could in fact do anything.
"Let's see you put that sword to good use," Garon said suddenly, snapping her out of her daze.
Then the hostages were brought out.
"Kill them," King Garon ordered with a smirk, thin lips receding over blood-red gums. It was a twisted expression, and one look at her father's visage grounded her back to reality and reminded her of the horror of the situation.
The hostages were Hoshidan, no doubt. One was a muscular woman with fiery eyes and a palpable sense of truly admirable pride, obvious from the way she stared her down and puffed out her chest. She looked fearsome and strong, but was definitely a stranger to her. The other individual was an oddly familiar man dressed in darker clothes with hair the same shade of green as Nohr's balsam firs in winter.
"He…seems so familiar. Who is that? He's Hoshidan…so I couldn't know him. But why are they here?"
"Father, I can't kill them!" Corrin objected, throwing her arm out from her chest and gesturing to the two slouched figures in the darkness. "They're already injured! There's no reason to…"
It was too late, the two hostages, Rinkah and Kaze, were up off the ground and looking at Corrin with expression that ranged from enraged to anxious, respectively.
"You're…Lady Corrin…?" Kaze asked hesitantly, as if he couldn't believe his eyes.
"Nohrian scum!" Rinkah growled, practically seething as she leapt to her feet and started across the room to Corrin. The princess saw the offensive rush and took a defensive stance, as if readying herself for combat. Corrin gripped the hilt.
"Strike them down, Corrin," Garon bellowed again. "I want to see you slay them with my own eyes."
Feeling as if she had no choice, the woman realized she would have to follow her father's orders. She promised herself to not kill them, only to render them unconscious.
All of a sudden, she heard two familiar voices approach her from behind, one to the left and the other to the right. She didn't even have to turn around to know who had stepped up.
"I shall join you, milady," Gunter said, readying his steed with one arm and brandishing his spear with another. "My lance arm might be rusty, but it's still serviceable."
"Gunter," Corrin managed, touched by his devotion. To her glee, nobody seemed to object to Corrin finding help in her retainers. She'd be completely outnumbered otherwise.
"Jakob!" Gunter barked loudly as he whipped his head toward the shadow lurking on her adjacent side. "Will you help as well?"
"Naturally, I couldn't allow someone of your advanced years to bear this burden alone," the butler said with his typical flair of sass. He then turned to Corrin and smiled genuinely, no trace of his earlier sarcasm remaining. "Lady Corrin, there is no need for you to soil your hands with such filth. Please relax and leave the fighting to us. Afterwards, I'll prepare you some tea."
Corrin gripped the sword and nodded to her two companions, thankful for their presence and thoughtfulness. "Thank you, Jakob. Just please be careful, okay?"
The butler gave her a long look before nodding silently in response to her request. She hoped he'd sensed the true concern behind her words, and if his demure actions were anything to go by, perhaps he even reciprocated a little.
The princess took one last moment to steel her nerves before the battle began. Rinkah and Kaze were aided by other Hoshidan soldiers that had also been taken hostage during the last skirmish.
As they made their way towards a large pile of debris, the woman remembered Garon words of her family's lineage and her bond with the First Dragons. As such, she felt a large pulse of energy in the ground near the pile of debris. Corrin rushed toward the warm energy, relying on instinct to tell her what to do. She hovered over the spot in the ground where the pulsing was strongest and, mere seconds later, a large zephyr of wind seemed to rocket through the room and whoosh the debris from the center of the chamber.
It was a Dragon Vein. Upon realizing her success, Corrin managed a confident smile and turned to Jakob with a proud expression.
"Extraordinary!" the butler exclaimed, looking at her with wide eyes as he held an arm to shield his eyes from any swirling wreckage. "No debris field can stand up to your mighty lineage!"
Corrin laughed at his flowery words, but the obvious sentiment didn't go unnoticed. In fact, her success at locating the Dragon Vein combined with his words gave her the confidence to pick up her blade and continue to charge forward.
"Heh…well done," Garon croaked from his throne. Corrin didn't seem to hear her father's ominous remark, but this didn't bother the king. The longer she was kept in the dark, the better.
"Excellent plan, milady," Gunter said, praising her with a kind gaze. "Now we can hide in there and ambush our foes."
That's exactly what the three of them did. Gunter guarded the left entrance while Corrin guarded the right. Jakob stood between them in the middle, assisting both in combat while also simultaneously healing his comrades when their injuries became grievous. His location also gave him a tactical advantage over other foes and allowed him to attack from afar with his knives. Gunter was able to annihilate many foes with one swing of his lance, and Corrin often leapt in to deliver the finishing blow.
Kaze and Rinkah fell, defeated but not dead, just like Corrin had planned.
She allowed herself the pleasure of letting out a cheer before turning to face the defeated soldiers. One look at their weakened bodies and lowered heads zapped every ounce of enthusiasm from her being. She was suddenly overcome with grief and hesitation over what she'd just done. She felt as if she'd committed a grievous atrocity.
All she'd done was follow orders. Why did she feel so empty?
"Don't just stand there, idiot girl," Garon barked, sounded more unhinged than ever before. "Finish them off! Kill them!"
The butler snapped his head toward the king as the words 'idiot girl' boomed from his mouth. The young man had to restraint himself to not send a cautionary dagger in the direction of the king's bloated, disgusting head. Jakob already wasn't a fan of Nohrian royalty, but if anything would send him over the edge, it was derogatory comments about his liege. That was non-negotiable.
Corrin also looked a little speechless at the sound of her father's tactless insult.
"But, father…they're beaten," she reasoned, gesturing to the limp bodies before her. "Why should I execute helpless prisoners?"
"You dare to oppose me?" Garon asked with a malicious frown. His face looked broken and disjointed with anger. It looked like a face that had been used to beat firewood for decades. It was a terrifying sight on the body of a king. "Do it, Corrin!"
"I will not!" Corrin fired back guiltlessly.
An explosion rattled the room. Corrin lost her footing as Garon cast a spell meant to incinerate Rinkah and Kaze. He barely missed after the trio managed to jump out of the way, and Corrin looked at her father in horror. "Gods! Father, what are you doing? Stop!"
When the king lifted his arm and aimed again for Kaze, Corrin leapt before him and used Ganglari as a shield to protect them. She felt the flames scorch her fingertips and knees, but the dark blade managed to capture most of the spell. The act left her Nohrian sibling speechless with expressions that ranged from concerned to tense.
"Corrin!" Elise cried, holding her staff to her chest.
"Unbelievable…" Xander groaned.
"You dare to defy me, girl?" Garon asked, cackling maniacally as the princess refused to stand down.
Xander tried to reason with his father and pleaded with him to see reason. He spouted excuses about how Corrin was still young and inexperienced, and how her naivety led her make inappropriate decisions on the battlefield.
Corrin did her best to blot out the words. She knew what she was doing was right, even if Xander didn't agree.
After back-and-forth between Xander and Garon and whose responsibility it was to kill the soldiers, Leo finally took initiative and used his mighty tome to create the illusion that he had destroyed the prisoners. In reality, the weakened enemies were safely away from the chamber and could return to Hoshido.
As Corrin's siblings cheered on Leo from his cunning and quick thinking. Corrin staggered away from the throne and toward her retainers. Gunter was silent, but regarded her with a calm expression that was usually synonymous with praise. Corrin noiselessly nodded her thanks and turned to Jakob.
"Are you hurt?" she asked, looking at the tears in his uniform from the shurikens and the vulgar splashes of blood that flash bright red against the pure white fabric.
"I'll be fine," Jakob promised. "What about you? Are you okay. That was…quite a display."
His violet eyes flitted in the direction of Garon's throne, and Corrin knew immediately what her friend was referring to. She sighed deeply and hung her head.
"I know," she said, holding up her hands defensively. "I shouldn't have defied him, but…"
"You did nothing wrong," Jakob said, cutting her off bluntly. "Did you not hear the way he degraded you? What about the way he asked you to kill those Hoshidan soldiers?"
The princess gave him an odd look. "Jakob, I had no idea that he was ordering me to kill them! If I had known, I would have never agreed, let alone allowed you to be dragged into that battle…"
"I'm not blaming you!" Jakob said, voice rising a bit. "My lady, with all due respect, he called you and 'idiot.' He asked you to kill people, even after we'd weakened them to the point of surrender, which is more than enough. You know that. You must see that King Garon is…."
The butler ceased speaking, biting his lip and wearing a conflicted expression. It looked as if he was torn between his duty and his emotions. It was an expression Corrin knew quite well, but she'd never thought she'd see a day where Jakob was the one to wear it.
"Jakob?" she asked, only to receive temporary silence as a reply.
His reply was spoken through grinding teeth.
"I spoke out of turn…forgive me, my lady," he admitted, closing his eyes and turning his face toward the ground. "Forgive me of speaking ill of…your family."
The last words practically oozed with venom, but not toward Corrin. Never toward her.
Before the princess could convince him to speak his mind, Leo tapped her shoulder and silently motioned for her to follow. No doubt they were heading for where Leo's tome had teleported Rinkah and Kaze. The two had to make their way to the secluded area to assure their wellness as well as to see them off safely.
The pale-haired woman looked back at Jakob one last time, but the butler beckoned her to go with her brother without regret.
Sighing and resigning herself to the task at hand, she went onward with Leo by her side. Jakob watched her go until he was the last one in the throne room.
Then, only once he was alone and isolated, he strode towards the door and gripped the handle. Channeling all his anger into raw strength, he slammed the towering door shut with a resounding thud that shook the entire castle.
This is my first upload of 2018. It feels a little lacking. I do miss writing the more creative chapters, so I apologize if these in-game chapters are dull. The next chapter will send us to the astral plane, and finally we can get back to more creative chapters.
Anyway, thank you guys so much for your support! I'm so thankful for all the views and reviews, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate the comments, feedback, and the amazing tolerance of all my typos (I'm so sorry, I never catch them all.)
Also, if you're a fan of Corrin/Jakob, be sure to follow my Tumblr account: romeo-and-antoinette. I post a couple drabbles there that never wind up on FF due to length, context or just other random reasons.
Thanks again! I'll see you guys soon! Next time, we'll team-up with Hans and take the plunge into the Bottomless Canyon...and the game's plot.