"No, of course the others aren't here. It was stupid to think they would come."
But for her idle comment, the early morning air was dead quiet as Edelgard made her way through Garreg Mach. Once, the fortress and conjoined cathedral served as both a monastery and an academy. It was a wellspring of knowledge and a starting point for future greatness. It was the center of the church and its force of knights. More than that it was, both symbolically and geographically, the center of Fódlan itself. Many called it home, and for almost a year Edelgard too had lived there.
But that was long ago. Another time. Another world.
The Emperor sighed as she shook her head, but the movement also came with a faint, nostalgic smile. "Why am I even here? I knew the others wouldn't come, but here I am anyway."
Edelgard brushed a strand of stark white hair aside as her pale lilac eyes casually flicked upwards, taking in the masonry around her. She happened to be in the spacious interior of one of Garreg Mach's towers, and though her visit came in the early dawn light, the rest of the monastery and its expanse was clear to her. It could proudly impose itself even against the backdrop of the Ohgma Mountains themselves.
Thinking about the scale of it all, she couldn't help but wonder what the scene would look like if history had taken a different course. Five years ago to the very day was the nine hundred and ninety fifth anniversary of Garreg Mach's founding. Edelgard's current visit, then, would have fallen on the much anticipated Millennium Festival. The celebrations would have been unprecedented, and even the Emperor's class, early as it was, had been excited. Many students spoke of returning for the festivities, and surely classes going back even decades before had planned on attending the reunion as well.
Edelgard had once been one of those students. Taking a whiff of the thin mountain air, the Emperor felt the familiar rush of sights and sounds. She didn't fight it. Closing her eyes, she instead allowed the world to fall away as she vividly recalled a memory.
Edelgard is five years younger, her hair straighter and her outfit far more humble. Still, given her striking eyes and her fondness for red, she is instantly recognizable.
"I have a proposition. Let's all agree to meet back at the monastery exactly five years from today."
Edelgard said that in the company of her closest companions back in her academy days. Before she was Emperor. Before Garreg Mach had been abandoned. Her already high spirits were lifted further as her peers readily agreed.
The hot-headed second born son of House Bergliez took to the idea instantly. "Like a class reunion? That's a great idea!"
Edelgard's own vassal, having joined her academy class, was quick as always to expand. "Five years from today will be the millennium festival for Garreg Mach Monastery. I've heard the magnitude of the festivities will exceed all prior years."
The songstress from Enbarr itself would bring the focus of the conversation to someone in particular. "Ooh, how exciting! Sounds like a great excuse to come visit our dear professor."
The heir of Brigid agreed. "You will be seeing how much growing I have done. You will be pleased, Professor! The idea is good!"
"Who knows who each of us will be in five years' time…" Brief hesitation caught Edelgard's voice. "Or who we will become. Still, I have faith that all of us will gather and celebrate our reunion."
"That's assuming the professor is still here in five years, and not enjoying a cozy early retirement." Said the heir of House Hevring. The comment won a brief chuckle from the princess.
"Even if that's the case, you will come, won't you? Whether or not you're still teaching here?"
Edelgard was with peers who helped her study. Comrades she'd learned to fight alongside with. She was with friends. Just standing by them now was something Edelgard cherished, but there was someone there whose words she anticipated most of all.
The woman who'd become the center of the conversation's positivity was not so far apart from Edelgard or her classmates in age, but everyone thought of her as the true center of the Black Eagles house, and it was her thoughts on the reunion that would decide it all. As her deep blue eyes met with Edelgard's, she spoke two words. Two words that would cement the happiness of the memory in the princess' mind. Two little words that made Edelgard care so much about her own promise.
Her smile grew wider still. "Don't forget, my teacher. Even if the millennium festival is cancelled, I promise to return here…"
The flashback slipped away as quickly as it had come. That princess was gone now, but the Emperor who'd taken her place never forgot. The Millenium Festival had technically arrived. Edelgard had fulfilled her own promise.
The day was in its infancy, but she doubted the others would come at all, and she couldn't blame them either. Garreg Mach had long been abandoned. Its very history had been split in two, divided between the time "before" and the time "after" a terrible event. The people who lived in a village outside the fortress gate, the only residents left in the area, preferred not to think about it—the watershed engraved into the monastery's chronology. Edelgard could do nothing but. As she continued her visit, descending the tower's winding steps and stepping into the open courtyards, the Emperor pondered that terrible day. These idle thoughts became yet another flashback at the sight of a large pile of debris blocking off a hallway. Five years wasn't enough time for a complex as well built as this to fall apart on its own. Edelgard herself was responsible.
The princess' ascension to the throne hadn't been peaceful, nor did she dream of ruling only over the land where the people called themselves Adrestian. She wanted all of Fódlan. She wanted it peaceful, and she wanted it freed of the controlling influence of the church. To do that she would need a war—a war more total and radical than anything her contemporaries could have even imagined. Edelgard believed with all her heart that the war was necessary. That good would come of it.
But there was no denying she was responsible for starting it, and the burden was hers to bear.
Moving quickly, the new Emperor gathered as many troops as she could so as to reach Garreg Mach within a month and besieged the heart of the church itself. Now, watching her handiwork unfold with her officers just behind the stormfront, the full realization of what she'd started began to sink in. She watched, almost in shock, as Imperial siege engines tore into the fortress walls. How tragic to see such ancient and eloquent masonry sundered like that.
And it was nothing like the pit welling in Edelgard's stomach from the human costs. Her Imperial troops, well trained and experienced but still a little unsure of their conviction in the new conflict, threw themselves against the defenses of the church's knights, outnumbered but steadfast in their resolve. Also with Edelgard were a number of students who'd responded to her call, now made to battle with classmates that stayed loyal to the academy. Another tragedy she'd caused.
The Adrestians would breach the outer gate. Edelgard's numbers made sure of that. Still, she had no intention of putting more men at risk than she needed to. The Emperor ordered her commanders to form an efficient three pronged attack that would ideally overwhelm the knights with minimal loss of life, and she'd begun organizing her personal guard to reinforce the center when her House Vestra born vassal caught her attention.
"Lady Edelgard, I thought you'd like to know you've caught the eye of our once mentor."
She understood what he meant as she scanned the crenellated battlements, her gaze locking with unmistakable blue eyes. A small part of the Emperor had clung to the hope they wouldn't see each other in the fighting, but what a foolish notion that was. The Black Eagles Professor was a brilliant tactician. Edelgard herself would attest to that. She would surely have been given leadership of the monastery's defense, and now she was undoubtedly monitoring Edelgard's lines for a chance to turn things around. With the Emperor herself looking to the walls, of course their eyes would meet.
If the professor held any resentment in her heart, if she'd taken Edelgard's betrayal personally, she didn't show it. Her face was detached. Stoic. Edelgard tried to do the same. Don't let them see you sweat, and all that. Alas, she was probably failing. She was almost sure her sadness was writ across her face for all to see. From the beginning—from the moment she'd first seen her, Edelgard wanted the Professor at her side. As she'd once managed the courage to say aloud, she would always be her student first and foremost.
That their paths had diverged so, she thought, was the most severe tragedy of all.
And yet, even as she knew their time together was over, Edelgard took some comfort in the professor's stoicism. When she first made her move one month before, revealed the full extent of what she'd done over the past year, Edelgard had seen nothing but contempt from the Archbishop and the church's loyalists. She had held tightly to each blissful day as a student, knowing the maelstrom that her fated path would unleash. Those days were always going to be numbered, but when the time finally came, she found that her heart still couldn't block out their hatred. The Professor had been there that day. Even then her face was as unmoved as it was now. The same as it almost always was. The teacher she admired so wouldn't change, even in the most severe times. It almost made her laugh.
Almost made her hope she would someday forgive her.
The two could hold each other's gaze for only a few seconds over the chaos of the battle, but it could just as well have been hours. Edelgard was frozen until an impossibly loud noise tore her attention away, and she looked to see a well placed shot from an Imperial trebuchet kill at least eleven people on the walls. Were those killed knights? Former classmates? It weighed on her soul all the same. Edelgard's war would drag on, and by the fourth and final year she'd become quite desensitized to the fighting, but she would never forget the pain of that day.
The Battle of Garreg Mach was a church rout, with the entire mountain range quickly falling to Imperial control. Her mentor disappeared that day, and the monastery went dark at the loss of its archbishop and favored professor. Now no one was around to celebrate the once vaunted holiday that had drawn Edelgard. She even wondered if anyone in the continent still remembered. Still cared.
The sun was rising now, and the light shining down turned refulgent. Glancing to the courtyard gardens, Edelgard noticed white flowers growing wildly in the uncared for grass. The blooms were delicate, their color soft. They didn't stand out in the faint glow of sunrise, and even in brightness they barely popped out above the dull grasses. Once she noticed them though, Edelgard couldn't look away.
The Emperor remembered the flowers from her time as a princess. They grew scarcely in the monastery's courtyards, their frail existence always threatened by encroaching weeds. Picking said weeds was a common chore, and Edelgard was tasked with it many times. The heir to the Imperial throne would never be made to perform such labor otherwise, but she didn't mind. It was a very physical reminder of the academy's dedication to merit. Everyone was equal, and had an equal chance.
Something curious happened after the Battle of Garreg Mach. No one was around to pick the weeds after the battle, but they didn't threaten the flowers anymore. The once frail things grew strong all around the courtyard, and they stayed in bloom longer than they used to. Edelgard remembered hearing academics make offhand comments about it. They believed something about the actual battle had changed them. They'd even taken soil samples to see if agricultural benefits could be gleaned. Edelgard had a theory of her own. She couldn't help but think the flowers had changed to spite the horrible violence that had fallen upon those who used to care for them. They lived longer and grew stronger to honor the academy's faculty and students, as if striving to live out the portions of lives denied to those whose tomorrows were snatched away by Edelgard's war. They grew to spite her.
Left to her own thoughts, Edelgard grew sadder and sadder still until she finally turned away from the sight, a twinge of sorrow hitting her and almost breaking her nostalgic calm. Unable to take it anymore, she made her way back to an interior hallway. "Why… why did I come here? Did I really come just because of a promise I made five years ago to a woman gone? Because of a holiday no one recognizes anymore?" She brought her fingers to her forehead and ran them down the bridge of her nose, exhaling deeply to calm herself. "How has it been five years already? Time stops for no one, I suppose."
Just as the fighting here had once done to Garreg Mach, the five years since Her Majesty had been Her Highness had forever divided the history of Fódlan itself into a "before" and "after". Going off that first terrible victory, Edelgard brought an unprecedented war to the rest of the continent. It took a year to defeat the Leicester Alliance, and another to bring down the Faerghus Kingdom. Yet another year was needed to put down the Knights of Seiros, and a fourth to bring the last scattered coalitions and alliances of rebels and insurgents to heel. The victorious Adrestian Empire had since enjoyed a full year of peace. This was supposed to be the beginning of Edelgard's real work. She could finally bring her utopian dream to life. Prove that the ugliness of the past had been justified. In theory, everything leading up to this point in the Emperor's short but storied life was just a prelude.
Yet time and time again her mind would drift back to these familiar halls.
"Why do the memories of this place haunt me so? I was here for… gods, for less than a year. For all that's happened since, it honestly feels like these past five years have gone by in a blur, but I can recall every day of my time here. Ridiculous. This was just a step. What I did behind the mask was what mattered, not what I did as a student."
Edelgard sighed, unable to truly believe her internalized lies. Even as she dedicated herself to her chosen path, setting into motion little acts of evil for a greater future, she had grown to care about her assumed life. This role as a student was but a facade, concealing crimes committed in that dreaded mask of red and white, and yet it was here in these cherished rooms that she felt free, and more and more she had caught herself dreading the day her own plans would pass the event horizon. How strange it was. She was but a mere student at the academy, but surrounded by those she cared about. In her other life she was heir to an ancient and exalted lineage, but had felt so much more alone. Who was there for her? Her aging, long since resigned to defeat father? Her cold, calculating uncle? Her allies of convenience, slithering in the shadows even now? How did it make sense? Why only when living the lie was she surrounded by people who cared about her?
"Stop it." She muttered to herself. "It had to be this way. The war had to come. For Fódlan." Edelgard allowed her head to clear, taking in the crisp mountain air and watching as the wind caused once treasured flowers and once despised weeds to sway together in inexplicable harmony. From the piles of debris to the flora itself, Garreg Mach had settled into its new role as a relic, a requiem, of the past. There was a haunting serenity to it. Edelgard was the only thing here out of place. "I should not have come back. There isn't going to be anyone else here. Certainly not… her."
Deep blue eyes graced Edelgard's thoughts again as she reflexively remembered her old professor. She fought the memories this time, but that never worked. Not when they were about her. That woman had never left Edelgard's heart and mind, not even after five painful years, and she gave a face to the alluring call of peaceful yesterdays. The Emperor became lost in old wounds, her attention taken from her. Otherwise, she might have heard the footsteps that began to echo through the corridors.
"Professor. I knew you wouldn't stand with me, and yet you were the last person I was prepared to fight. I would have given anything to have you by my side. If I could have just shown you my dream. If I could have had five more years. You'd have woken up to a prosperous Fódlan, and you could have seen what I was trying to build. You'd see and… and you'd know all the pain I brought was for a reason. I almost wish she never became a professor here. If I could've brought her to the Empire itself…" Edelgard remembered the events of the previous day, and her voice faded. "No. She made her choice. I couldn't win her over. If only we had more time, just the two of us. I never got to tell her how I really felt. How much she meant…"
The footsteps became too loud to ignore. Edelgard tensed up for a moment, wondering who else could be there, but soon eased. Somehow she already knew. Rather than immediately turn, she drew her sword and held it to the side, allowing it to catch the light. There, reflected in the polished blade, was the center and cause of her nostalgic trip made real.
There was a moment of silence as the Emperor faced her visitor, of tension, and then… a smile and a cute little wave. The Professor's sense of humor hadn't changed one bit. "Edelgard. It's been quite a night."
"Casual chatter at a time like this? After what you did? I can't believe you even want to talk to me."
This was not a long awaited reunion. After five years of absence, the Professor's miraculous recovery had actually happened just over a month ago. Edelgard had been in Enbarr at the time, and it was the news of her survival that first brought her here. It took about half a month to travel to the center of the continent. Just a few weeks. After half a decade, that was all that separated Edelgard from her beloved teacher. They had last seen each other as foes, but perhaps things could change. Maybe she'd been given a real second chance to make things right.
But that had been wishful thinking. Two weeks was all it took for the Professor to recement her beliefs. It was a happy occasion when the two women met again, but it hadn't been enough to change fate. At some point, before Edelgard could do anything more to stop it, her old professor had decided to stand against the Adrestian Empire a second time. Teacher and student were enemies now. That was why Edelgard hadn't expected this conversation now.
"So you've come, my teacher. I thought you would have fled after your declaration, but even after everything that happened, you upheld your old promise. Your original promise." Edelgard realized she'd started smiling at some point, but it faded at a conscious reminder of the Professor's decision. She made it clear who she stood with yesterday, and she didn't pick her old pupil. "Why are you here?"
The Professor gave a soft smile of her own. "A whim."
"Highly doubtful. You didn't come just because of the promise, did you?"
"I came to talk."
"The time for discussion is over. We're enemies now, you and I. You made that clear yesterday." Another moment of silence followed. The Professor flashed a look of faint sadness, but didn't say anything further. Edelgard decided to speak her own mind. She got the feeling there wouldn't be another opportunity. "You know… when I first heard you'd survived… it's been a long time since I had ever been so happy. I allowed myself to hope this was a second chance for us… but what a fantasy that was. You chose the church over me all those years ago. Why would now be any different?"
"Edelgard, I chose to defend my home. You attacked us so suddenly. You attacked everyone."
"I know I started the war. I don't lie to myself and say otherwise. But what choice did I have? The church had Fódlan in a stranglehold, refusing to allow any dissent."
"And your Empire is better?" The Professor smiled wider, a final attempt to keep the conversation soft. "Heh, it is called an 'empire' after all."
"I brought peace."
"Edelgard, you're confusing peace with quiet."
"I have united this continent. The petty factional infighting of the past is gone."
"You imposed that unity."
"I've done this for the good of the people!"
"The people support your rule? That's why you keep them in line with state security?"
The Emperor's blood briefly flared, but that frustration faded just as quickly. What was the point in arguing? This was a final parting. A last chance for Edelgard to open her heart. The year she spent with the Professor had been filled with lies. Deception. Vows she couldn't uphold. The pleas of a sad girl that lived only for a breath. Ironically, with her old teacher now her foe, Edelgard could finally say what she really felt. "We're never going to agree, are we? You who I called my teacher, how could you have come to hate me so? I just wanted you by my side. I thought I could show you a strong and safe Fódlan—prove to you the sincerity of my vision—and that you'd… be… that'd you'd feel…"
The Professor figured her out as she always did, cocking her head slightly as she spoke. "Proud?"
"There's no point in dwelling on these things. All of our yesterdays are just that, and we must put them aside no matter how joyous or parlous they may have been. Draw your blade, Professor. Show me the strength of your convictions."
Another brief pause, but the Professor reluctantly did just that. She drew her distinctive sword and held it to the side. A longer silence followed, and Edelgard could tell her old mentor wouldn't engage. Perhaps hoping Edelgard wouldn't either. Steeling her resolve, the Emperor rushed forward and forced a duel.
The two exchanged blows, but Edelgard could immediately tell it wasn't serious. So casual was the fight that Edelgard could comfortably talk through it, and she did so even as the Professor maintained her sad silence. "Heh, you always were a woman of few words, weren't you? Perhaps that's not such a bad thing. I cherished the talks we did have. I can vividly recall so much of our time together. Month by month you earned my unfailing trust, and I told you things I never told anyone. I remember when you caught me screaming after a nightmare. I remember showing you my second crest. I remember the banquet. When I told you about my mother and father at the Goddess Tower. The Battle of the Eagle and Lion."
This was getting to the Professor. "Edelgard…"
"But for all that time together, there was so much I wanted to say to you. We talked. People talk all the time. They just don't say very much. They're afraid of showing people how they really feel. Too worried about their true feelings being judged. Well, I've long learned that people are judged for what they do, not what they say. My war and my empire will be my legacy. What I say now is just between you and I. Maybe I should tell you what I didn't before. Better late than never."
The fight continued, both women circling around each other. "I deceived you about who I really was, just like I did with everyone else, but know that I cared, Professor. I loved my time as a student. As your student. I knew my chosen path—cruel fate, a burning fire I couldn't escape from—would lead me away from you. I knew the vows I made to you and the church couldn't be kept. I knew what we had would slip away like the silver snow before the sun. I knew the dawn would come on a day where my war would begin, and I held tightly to the precious time I had with the others. With you. I came to fear the edge of that dawn. To have to fight against you now… this is not what I wanted. This is not what I wanted." Edelgard put more effort into the fight, forcing her old teacher to do the same. "But this was inevitable. You and I are two sides of the same coin—connected, but we were never going to face the same direction. Perhaps our battles will be our true relationship. In fighting each other, we see our true selves. Understand our true resolve."
"Don't act like there was never any choice. You chose to walk this path, Edelgard. You could have stayed with us—"
The Emperor would hear none of that. "No. My destiny was decided. One thing is sure—" Both women forced each other back, spun around, and brought their blades to each other's necks. Threatening as the situation was, it betrayed just how reluctant the fight had been. Both combatants allowed their blades to stop, and now they didn't have the momentum they needed to cut. What could have ended either woman's life simply ended the fight itself, and Edelgard hung her head as she stepped back and sheathed her sword. "Even though our blades cross as they do now, our chosen paths never will. I don't see any point in continuing this fight, my teacher."
The Professor looked a little hurt as her once pupil turned. Maybe a small part of her wanted to keep talking, even if she knew it wouldn't go anywhere. Anything to stall the coming war. She only seemed to finally accept the reality as Edelgard began to walk away. "I am not your teacher, Edelgard, and you are no longer my student."
The Emperor glanced back. "I can't even call you that anymore?"
She put on a dissonant, teasing smile. "You'll need to call me something. If we're going to be on opposing sides, we'll surely be thinking of each other. Call me by my name."
"... Byleth? In all the time we knew each other… I don't think I ever called you that. No, I'm sorry. I can't do it. It's too strange. Maybe I can't call you Professor, but I have to call you by a title." She thought. "Since you've sided with the anti-Imperial Resistance, perhaps I should call you 'Resistor'. If we're equal now, opposites, then I too should be addressed by title. Call me Emperor, or perhaps you'll come to curse me as 'Oppressor'." Edelgard considered her own words and gave a strange laugh. "Our entire relationship summed up in a few words ending in 'or'."
"Edelgard, why so fatalistic? Why act like your future is set? We can still talk—"
"No. The time for that has passed. There can be nothing between us now but the war, and this time, Resistor, you were the one to start it."
"This is goodbye?"
"Is it? I'm sure we'll see each other again."
"But it won't be as friends."
"Were we… ever friends? I always thought of us as student and teacher… though maybe… probably… it was more than that. Maybe I thought of us that way because it was simpler to understand than the emotions I truly felt." Edelgard couldn't look the Professor in the eye anymore, and only turning around again made it possible to continue. "I cared about you… probably a lot more than either of us realized at the time. I hid those feelings because… because I knew what we had wouldn't last. Fate wasn't going to allow it. Even with the miracle of your recovery we can't stand together."
"As I said before, this is no goodbye. Though our paths may go in opposite directions, I get the feeling our steps will always rhyme. Yes. We'll reach the end of our journeys together, even if only one of us lives to cross that finish line."
She forced herself to walk away, refusing to turn this time. "Edelgard, it doesn't… have to… be this way."
But the Professor was lying to herself, the uncertainty in her voice betraying that, and Edelgard had disappeared deeper into the monastery before she could finish. It was always going to be this way. If another war was needed to maintain the peace, then so be it. Edelgard would walk her path for as long as it took.
But another flashback came before she could leave the academy…
The Black Eagles had prevailed in the Battle of the Eagle and Lion, a famous mock battle held by the academy. The victors had been the center of a feast held to celebrate, and now the students were winding down the day with casual chatter about the battle, academy couples, or the food itself. Edelgard enjoyed watching her classmates converse, but she chose to speak with the woman that made it all possible.
"Until today, I thought it would fall to me to command and guide our ranks all by myself, and I don't just mean here at the academy. I'm talking about my future at the Empire too. The Emperor doesn't take orders from anyone. It's their duty to stand alone and lead the entire Empire." Her smile grew. "But maybe it's better to have someone to rely on… so that you can support and guide each other through the darkness."
Blue eyes met hers. "Am I that someone?"
She turned to face the Professor fully. "I may be heir to the Imperial throne, but first and foremost, I'm your grateful student. That will never change, even when I fulfill my destiny and become the emperor."
The other Black Eagle students gathered around the Professor, sharing Edelgard's opinions. One by one they expressed their gratitude at the Professor's teaching, and the princess felt closer than ever to her mentor. "I feel the same. You are something special, my teacher."
It was smiles all around. The Professor returned one of her own, but oddly, Edelgard's excitement suddenly faded. She hid it—she'd become quite used to hiding her true feelings—but sorrow consumed her, and she knew why.
The Professor, her smiling classmates, the other students and teachers at the academy, they didn't know. They believed this year was one of many. They believed the academy would continue, and that its newest Professor would have many years here. The woman herself believed that. She believed Edelgard would simply graduate as a student, and that the two might have many years ahead of them as friends. Everyone believed blissful days like this one and the ones that had preceded it would continue on into endless tomorrows.
Only Edelgard knew of the bloodshed that was waiting for the class of 1180. Only she knew these days were numbered.
Numbered days defined Edelgard's whole life. She only had so long as a normal princess before her uncle had her taken away in a scheme. Before she became the victim of cruel experiments, leaving her as the last heir. She only had so long as a student at the academy. Even her very life was most likely limited by the two crests she was made to have, her mortal form infused with power the human body just wasn't made to handle. Edelgard only had so many tomorrows, and she long ago learned to appreciate the here and now. Perhaps that was why she came to care so much about the Professor, even knowing they couldn't be together long.
More than once she told the Professor how much she wanted her to serve the Empire. To guide her. She shouldn't have. It only endangered her plans, but she couldn't help it.
In the months that followed, as the new war escalated, the two women's opinions of each other would sour. Byleth would call Edelgard a tyrant who brought Fódlan under her boot, and Edelgard would call Byleth an insurgent who ruined the peace she brought.
But Edelgard would always remember she was her student first.
Hello, everyone. Thanks for reading, and hope you enjoyed.
This chapter is a prologue to my take on Three House's Part II. I've noticed that a lot of fic retellings don't deviate much from the game's restrictions, and that made me want to tell a story that's truly cross-path. Though this chapter took inspiration from Silver Snow, this story will bring all four paths together. Byleth will lead a resistance as she does in the church route, but will also come to work with Dimitri and Claude instead of one or the other. Though Edelgard opposes them, she is also a main character and her POV will be shown many times.
Uniquely, Edelgard actually won her war before Byleth woke up, and the new resistance will have a bit of an uphill battle ahead of it. Students from all three houses, not just the Black Eagles, are divided in their support. They've had a year to adjust to the new order, and some will have taken positions in the Empire.
I like that Three Houses has no obvious golden ending, as it gives weight to your choices, but it bothers me that certain plot points are flat out ignored in some paths. Another thing I seek to do with this fic is weave all of Three House's major Part II developments into a single story.
Lastly, I wanted a fic that gives significant attention to all three house leaders. Dimitri and Claude will both have their character arcs explored, and even if they're on opposite sides, Byleth and Edelgard still mean a great deal to each other.
The next few chapters will lead up to this one, showing Byleth and Edelgard's first reunion and the events that lead to a new resistance. Please let me know if you find this interesting, and I'll be happy to continue.
This story's ongoing rewrite is mostly wrapped up. I'll just touch up a few things before posting the next chapter. This first chapter might be restructured somewhat, but most changes have to do with grammar and prose.
Thanks for hanging in there.