Bern

Summary: Formerly "Queen of Bern". Bern and its new king sets his sights on war. The Tactician, Kumiko, would do anything in her power to stop it. But she can't—not when she is the King of Bern's wife, the Queen of Bern. FE6 timeline. For the sake of friends and lives of the innocent, would a tactician betray her own country? Would a woman betray the one man she swore the rest of her life to? Or would she lead the reins of war herself?

Mostly still a sequel to my other work, "The Journey in Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword" AKA "The Journey", but still a standalone. It would be helpful to read that first, though, to get to know Kumiko and some of the other OCs. Worry not though! Just read. I try to borrow the effects of historical romances—thus the rating. Nothing too bad for the eyes and imagination, though. I know "The Journey" is yet to be finished, but Bern is something I love, too, and it has its own share of readers, so I shall update it anyway. For my The Journey readers, if you choose not to read this fic or read it later, it is perfectly fine with me.

Hope everyone likes the upgrade.

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Disclaimer: Don't own no rights to Fire Emblem. This plot and my tactician and her friends are mine, however. If you play FE, you know who the original characters are.

Rating: T, for mild violence and mild suggestive themes. If you know me write, that means super mild.

Dedication: To Aayvee, wherever you are. Thank you for the support you gave for the initial stages of this work.

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PROLOGUE

White Queen, Black King

Frankly, it all started two years before the war even began. He was just crowned King of Bern—a great show of my skills at crowd control and keeping secrets, if I may brag. No one, absolutely no one, questioned how King Desmond died. And no one, absolutely no one, was allowed to speak of a blonde-haired young man rising from the coffin, ceremonial sword in hand, who with one stroke killed his father, killed the King of Bern.

Zephiel became King, and what a fine king he made. Better than anyone I saw on the throne of my country, and that is not even a lie on my part. He might be the best. The economy was steady, there were no civil wars, there was peace and prosperity all throughout Bern. Even when he declared war, it never affected the country's resources. He is a master at management, a master of being a king. Master would even be an understatement.

But as I said, it really started two years ago. I and a certain woman were sent to the tips of our toes at the slight hints that the newly crowned king was hinting on war—a continental domination. He would never speak obviously of it—but I knew that man, and my co-planner knew him better. We knew when there was something in his mind, and we knew for sure that it was war. We didn't know why then—the story hasn't fully unfolded—but we knew we had to stop him somehow, someway.

So the beginning of the tale might have truly begun in a secret meeting room in Bern Keep. My partner in the plan to stop the king look utterly distressed. She was so young, and I wondered if she could fathom doing dirty things for the sake of the continent. But when you work, you question not those things. All you ever care for is the person has the same goals as you.

"We must distract him," she said, determined. "Divert him, do anything to take his mind off those dark ideas of war. Do you have any suggestion of what we might do?"

I have been thinking of the answer to that question for days. I could only come up with, "Get him a woman."

It was the most overdone, but highly effective, trick in the book. I have seen great men stumble and fall to the dirt all because of a woman. I have seen kings twist laws and wrong and right for a woman. While Zephiel was slightly different, even wiser, I knew for fact that all the kings of Bern tended to change drastically thanks to women. Power was their blessing… women were their curse.

"You know that won't work," my partner-in-crime said, as I picked the dirt from my boots. "That won't work," she repeated determinedly. "You know Zephiel. He smiles at women and treats them nicely, but he is careful not to be attracted to anyone. He knows what it means to be the king of Bern, knows what happened to all those before him. He never dare look at a woman twice."

Ah, Zephiel. So calculating. So determined. I sighed, and said, "He has never named, my lady, a woman he was ever fancied? Thought beautiful? Ever?"

She looked contemplative for a long while. That wasn't a good sign. But then she lit up and said, "Well, there was one time, but that was from long ago..."

I didn't care about "long ago". I can hunt people better than I hunt rabbits; I can find a woman even with the smallest piece of information. I am not called the Master of Spies for nothing. "Try me," I said. "If this woman seems to be any good, I will find her, and if she's around here, I could convince her to work for us with a snap."

But then she just had to name Genevieve Regrada. Genevieve—Kumiko! The Strategy Queen. The Queen of Hiding was her other name—skilled at helping groups with tactics and then disappearing without a trace. My stubborn, calculating king liked that sweet, innocent girl who helped little people with her skill for free. More importantly, she was not a woman who would work for someone else's goal. And she was not a woman who could seduce a king and place him beneath her fingers. If I placed her with the king, she would only be distressed—horribly distressed. She would curse me forever, beyond the grave.

My companion told me that I had been quiet—was there something wrong with what she said? I shook my head. Of course there was nothing wrong, aside from the fact that I may have to sell out an innocent woman to a king of absolute power only to stop a war. Of course there was nothing wrong, aside from the fact that we were probably going to try to make a pair out of a Black King and a White Queen. Opposites in everyway, working for different interests.

But then again, my companion said, he liked her. He would at least treat her decently—Zephiel always treated women appropriately, gods bless his mother, she taught him well. If he intended to hurt Genevieve, I could protect her. If he intended to use her, I could pull her out.

I believed in my power, I believed I could do all that. I had become a kingmaker by whispering to Zephiel's ears one night after his father tried to poison him. I could be a queenmaker, too, I said. And as a maker, I can unmake everything I ever created. So I thought. Who would have thought that The King of Bern and the Queen of Strategy were difficult pieces to maneuver?

This is their story, not mine. I was merely the instigator, an instrument to the unfolding of the main play. It all started two years before the war, when my companion and I met in a hidden room and talked about distracting the king with a woman. But everything after that is their story, and we others fell into minor roles. The calculating and steady Black King. The stubborn and emotional White Queen. The King and Queen of Bern.