This story takes place after all the children have been recruited except Morgan and around the time the party begins their war with Walhart and the Valmese. I will be highlighting my favorite pairings of my first playthrough and have fun telling a story. Enjoy!
Late at night, crickets chirp and the wind whistles by as a large camp begins to convene for the night. This camp is the camp of the Shepherds, protectors of the land of Ylisse. Fires burn brightly as circles begin forming around different ones. Friends, families and lovers sit side by side as they discuss the day's battle against the Risen, which have been terrorizing the local towns and villages. Currently in a standstill in the war against the country of Valm the Shepherds now have the time to protect the people of their country from the hordes of undead that have littered the lands.
However, while all the other Shepherds begin having their dinners and relaxing with their fellow soldiers, one remains inside the main tent at the center of the camp. In front of him is a large map and figurines that model both enemies and allies alike. Rigorous strategies and situations run through his mind as he moves each piece one by one, seeing how victory can arrive.
Robin, the great tactician of the Shepherds was still hard at work preparing battle plans for the future battles he was sure that he and his fellow Shepherds would be forced to confront. He had now been doing this same scenario for the last two hours, not noticing the candles he had lit were now running on the liquid wax the flame had reduced it to.
The strategist rubbed his eyes, which were now showing signs of being bloodshot. Reports were coming from all over Ylisse about more and more Risen arriving to the east. More than he had initially expected to arrive. With his forces already stretched so thing in the north near the Feroxi border, he needed to think of a way to send at least some kind of force that would at least stand a chance against the Risen in the east. So involved in his dilemma, Robin failed to hear to sound of three sets of footsteps enter the large tent.
"Man Robin, don't tell me you're still working on the giant chess board there!" said the loud booming voice of the one and only Vaike. Robin turned his head to see the party of Stahl and Gaius following closely behind, all with a concerned look on their face. Robin smiled and ran his hair through his short, brown spiked hair.
"Hey there guys. I guess I lost track of time after the meeting. How long has it been since everyone left?"
It was obvious for the three who entered that there was stress in the eyes of their good friend. Here he was, almost blind by the strain he put on his eyes. Almost anemic due to his lack of keeping himself fed and hydrated by doing all these plans. Worst of all, they could see he was near exhaustion as his knees buckled under him from the lack of sleep and the stress he was putting on his mind. The three quickly walked over and picked their friend off of the table he was leaning on for support.
"Look, what you need is some sleep there Robin. There isn't any point in having you less than your best out there on the battlefield." Gaius told him as he grabbed a shoulder of Robin's while Stahl wrapped his armored hand around the other shoulder.
"Trust me here Robin, even a middle-of-the-pack warrior like myself is no good without some rest and a meal...or maybe three pending on what I'm going to do during the day." Stahl said as he garnered a chuckle from the other three still in the tent. The weight of Robin was nearly nonexistent to the two carrying him, as Vaike led the way opening the flap and making sure they would avoid the gaze of any who might see Robin in his less than stellar appearance. This wasn't the first night that Robin had pushed himself to nearly fainting in the main hub of the camp. He had been doing this for almost two weeks. Reading strategy texts, counting the war chest and running strategy simulations as many times as he could.
Gaius, Stahl and Vaike had all begun noticing this two days ago as they began noticing a lack of their friend's presence at the many fires around camp. Even Chrom had mentioned the lack of Robin's presence the other day. The lack of Robin's jokes and interesting commentary to those in the camp left a hole in the Shepherds that was hard to keep unnoticed. Problem was, it was even harder to address.
As the three finally got to Robin's tent, which was one of the smaller in the camp despite his ranking amongst the Shepherds, they sat him down in his humble abode. None of the others understood why Robin lived in such a small tent considering that he was the second most important member of the group besides Chrom. Some felt it was just his way of sacrificing for the betterment of the whole army. Others heard that Virion had bested him in a strategy duel that won him the larger tent that would have belonged to Robin. Either way, no one really knew why but Robin never mentioned much about it either.
Stahl and Gaius knelt next to their friend as they began seeing his eyes fluttering back and forth, as if battling the forces of sleep from taking him. Gaius gave a quick shake to Robin's shoulder which caused the man's head to shoot up. Robin saw the thief and the knight smiling at him as Vaike entered the tent with a bowl with some of the leftover stew that had been made that night. Robin could smell the broth and it loosened the grip the stress he had built had on his mind. Vaike handed the bowl to Stahl who then gave it to Robin. The tired man sitting on his sleeping bag looked inside the bowl and saw noodles and bits of lamb swimming in the yellowish fog that the broth had become after the cooking. Robin looked back at his three friends and smiled as he began spooning out as much as he could.
Gaius smiled as he took a seat on the ground, which was then followed by the other two. "You really should be watching yourself there Bubbles. I don't think I have ever seen you this bad." Gaius began explaining to his friend, who froze. Robin slowly set the bowl on the ground and let out a disappointed sigh, regret filling his bloodshot eyes.
"I know Gaius, I know. I should be taking better care of myself. But I have to get our preparations ready. So much rides on me preparing us for not only the Valmese campaign, but there is also the Risen pandemic stretching across all of Ylisse..." The sound of a fist being clenched through fabric could be heard now, as Stahl began looking towards the shaking hand of his friend. So much pressure was put on Robin, and it seemed like the stress was finally getting to him. "...I can't afford to waste time. Because our enemies won't either."
A large, near thunder clap-like sound resonated in the tent as the always noticable Vaike slammed his hand into the floor. "Don't you let those dumb corpses get your head outta sorts there Robin. Teach here has those things covered, no sweat!" The large blonde warrior bellowed out as Stahl and Gaius' faces began showing signs of bewilderment. So late at night, yet here was Vaike acting like it was high noon with his energy levels. They both sighed, knowing the only explanation for this was that it was Vaike himself.
"And I don't want to hear anymore talk from you about this whole Valmese campaign thing Robin! They aren't doing a damn thing right now since this war reached the cease fire period! We got those guys on the ropes, and soon enough that Walhart guy is gonna get exactly what Gangrel had coming to him!" Vaike began preaching as he pushed off the ground and stood high above the others. Robin now was in shock at the energy shown by Vaike, but also at the determination in the eyes of the man. "The only way though that that's gonna happen is if you're in top shape to be making decisions. Right now bud, you ain't even close to the Robin I knew back when we were spying on girls in the springs! So you had better start taking care of yourself and living a little bit huh!"
Robin heard everything that Vaike had said and looked back down at his bowl. Then...laughter. Laughter from the man who could barely stand on his own a minute ago. Vaike's dominating stance and beaming smile suddenly disappeared to show a confused and bewildered stance. Gaius and Stahl sat still, unsure if Robin's mind had finally snapped completely this time. Robin then picked up his head and gave Vaike a quick thumbs up.
"Alright then Vaike! You're right. I need to start watching what I'm doing and making sure I am taking better care of myself." He said as smiles filled all four men in the small tent. Robin then quickly picked up his bowl of broth and began drinking it like a bowl of milk left over from oats. The other three watched as the thick juice ran along the cheeks of their tactician. As a final sigh escaped his mouth, Robin threw the bowl on the ground to show no trace of the meal Vaike had brought in. The four began laughing and felt the previous worry they all had shared leave the opened flap of the tent.
Robin looked up at the three who had been so concerned about him and gave each of them a respected nod of the head. "Thank you, all three of you. Without you all coming in when you did, I might have passed out back in the main tent by now. So thanks again you guys."
Stahl was smiling from ear to ear now, picking himself off the ground with a quick grunt. "Don't even mention it Robin. It's the least we could do for all the times you have helped us out on the battlefield. And just in daily life as well to be honest. It's about time someone looked after you for a change." The bed hair ridden Shepherd said as he looked over at Gaius, who was standing up himself.
"Bubbles, just make sure you aren't doing too much to exert yourself like we said. Last thing we need is to go into battle with Virion or somebody else calling the shots." The orange haired thief said as a shudder came over the two warriors next to him. Gaius then smiled, moving the lollipop stick that was still in his mouth as usual. "We'll expect to see you in high spirits in the morning there. Don't disappoint will ya?" He asked as Robin shot him a smile in return.
With that, the three left the tent and began walking back to the fire they had set up for themselves. The three had begun hanging out a lot more since they all began realizing Robin's lack of being with the group. Each of the men decided that if anyone was going to try and help their over-exerting friend it would the the three of them. They had all had close bonding moments with Robin, and were going to be damned if they let him just self destruct on them. As they finally reached their fire, each took a seat on a log Vaike had personally chopped into three pieces for each of them.
"Good thing you had the idea to check the main tent Gaius, otherwise Robin probably would have just passed out back there." Stahl said as he let out a worried moan. Rubbing the back of his neck, the knight was giving off a nervous energy that was contagious. Suddenly Vaike and Gaius both began thinking about how they had earlier reservations to try and help Robin back to his tent. Now here they were, doing what they said they'd do, but not sure what they would do now going forward.
Vaike threw some more twigs into the fire, seeing it beginning to die down. Vaike let out a yawn and nodded his head towards Stahl. "Well we did what we had to do. Couldn't leave Robin like that in that room right?" He said with a forced smile on his face as he stared back at the fire. Even Vaike was concerned for Robin. How did they know he wasn't just going to go back and push himself too hard again?
Suddenly the thief with the sweet tooth let out a chuckle. Stahl and Vaike looked over to Gaius to see him pull out the now bare lollipop stick and toss it in the flame. "Who says we're done helping Robin out? I say we keep an eye on the big guy and make sure he doesn't do it again. Plus, we should make sure he is in top shape on the battlefield. I know we all have our families to look out after, but if it wasn't for Robin we wouldn't have them to begin with." Gaius said as he pulled out another sugar infused lollipop and threw it into his gaping jaw. He let out a smile to the other two at the fire, and received nods in return.
"I completely agree! Even though I won't be getting as many helpings at meals now, I'll make sure that Robin gets the right amount of food every day. He probably won't eat second breakfast, but at least one will do for now." Stahl said as his messy hair moved with the rapid nods the knight was giving off. Vaike then pounded on his chest, in a showing of pride.
"I'll make sure to keep Robin on his toes for sure! Ain't nobody in this whole army that's as good as the Vaike when it comes to that." The well toned soldier said as he let out a hearty laugh.
Gaius rolled his eyes and chuckled. "Look Biceps, I said watch out for him, not kill the poor guy. You saw how weak he was coming home." Gaius said with a point towards the loud and always flamboyant Shepherd. "Just make sure that the guy isn't getting too much over his head."
Vaike laughed and nodded back. Stahl let a toothy grin show as he looked back at Gaius. The thief and apparently self promoted captain of this trio stood up and let out a groan. It was getting late as the moon's light was strong enough to keep the whole camp lit on it's own as it stared down at the Shepherds and their camp.
"Well fellas, I better go and get ready for bed. Princess is probably waiting for me back home. Plus I'm sure Owain is getting smothered by his mom at this point." Gaius said with a grimace on his face thinking about his son being choked out by his mother's tight embraces. Lissa had much more strength than she thought she did.
Stahl laughed and picked himself up off of the log he was sitting on. "That's right, I forgot you promised to bail out Owain when him and his mother were alone like that. Luckily for me, Laurent and Miriel get together pretty well. Give them a potential experiment to work and they'll be busy for weeks on end." Stahl said as he let out a contented sigh. "I really gotta try to get involved in their little experiments more though. Me and Laurent do a lot of sword and horseback training, but not a whole lot else. Besides, I miss me and Miriel's experiments from back in the day."
Vaike let out a long grunt and slapped Stahl right in his back. Even through the thick armor, Stahl felt a welt beginning to form as he looked at the practical body builder. "What? You mean your dates back in the day? Haha! Those were some better days weren't they?" Vaike said, referencing the early "experiments" Miriel and Stahl would go through back in the day, testing just how Stahl could stay so ordinary for so long. Through it though, Stahl learned that others reacted to his determination by working harder, which gave him a much greater view of himself.
Gaius quickly raised an eyebrow as he stepped up to Vaike and pressed a finger into the chest of the warrior. "Oh, and wasn't your honeymoon with crazy witch lady any better? Nothing but hexes back and forth right?" Gaius joked as Stahl quickly let out a chuckle and the smile left Vaike's face. Indeed he had fallen for Tharja a while back but she still had a thing for curses on her family. Granted they had stopped now since Vaike stole some of the hexing tools for his daughter, Noire's, sake. Still, Tharja was a danger at any moment to begin cursing again.
The three eventually decided that it was time to stop poking fun and start heading back to their respective families' homes in the camp. Vaike threw a bucket of water onto the fire they had made, turning it into a large plume of smoke in the aftermath.
Back in the main tent, one Shepherd that had yet to resign herself to her tent was Lucina. The daughter of Chrom walked in, still seeing candles lit and wondering why that was the case. The meeting her father and Robin shared had ended earlier in the night, as she saw her father retire to his tent with her mother Sumia. Candles still flickering on what little wax was left, and figurines still laid out on top of a map made the future queen of Ylisse curious.
"Robin never leaves these figures on the map like this. He typically puts them away before he leaves." Lucina noted as she looked at the finely crafted statues of the many different units at the Shepherds disposal. Everything from the definition of a shield to the last feather on a pegasus was shown in each wooden figure. Lucina picked one up that represented Robin himself, making her crack a smile seeing it. While Robin had put in much work into recreating his allies faces, he simply had his figure have a hood over his head. Lucina smiled, seeing the lack of self indulgence in their tactician made her proud to call him a friend.
Lucina took one last look around the room and again grew worried at the state the tent was left in. "I should go and check on Robin. Perhaps he fell ill or forgot to clean up. Either way, this is not like him." She said to herself quietly as she began walking out of the tent to Robin's personal quarters.
After passing by a few comrades, including the trio of Vaike, Gaius and Stahl as they turned out their fire, the princess finally found herself staring directly at Robin's tent. Seeing no light she figured a quick peek would be fine, just to see if Robin was there at all. As she pushed the flap at the entrance to the side, she quickly caught her words in her throat. Instead of asking a question, a calm look took over her face.
Robin laid on his makeshift bed, his covers around his waist instead of covering him fully. It was clear that he was out cold, his breathing slow and quiet. Lucina smiled at the sight before her and quietly stepped inside. She made sure to look at the ground for any potential hazards. The only thing in her path was a bowl that had been cleaned out, but the smell of broth was still emanating from it. Lucina gently pulled up the cover and placed it at Robin's chest. The last thing Lucina wanted was for her friend to catch a cold.
Smoothing out the blanket she caught herself watching Robin's eyes. They were fluttering in his sleep, his eyelashes zipping back and forth like dragonflies near a lake. Lucina couldn't help but giggle at the comparison, but her giggle was quickly stymied when the man in the bed let out a groan. He shifted slightly, moving his arm and grazing Lucina's thigh ever so gently. The girl froze, silently damning herself for making the noise and for stepping in the tent in the first place. However, Robin quickly settled back into sleep much to the relief of the girl.
With that, Lucina left the tent quickly, but quietly. The last thing she needed was for Robin to see her standing over him in his tent while he was sleeping. The rumors that would spread would be uncontrollable to be certain. Who wouldn't pass about the scandal of the king's daughter sneaking into the master tactician's tent late at night. Lucina let out a heavy and nervous sigh that seemed to release all air that the young but strong woman had ever breathed in her entire life. After regaining her composure, Lucina looked back at the main tent and the small light that was still present.
The blue haired princess looked back at Robin's tent and smiled once more, her nerves finally released. "Since Robin is indisposed at the moment, I suppose I'll clean up for him. No sense in waking him up just to put away some simple figurines." Lucina told herself as she began walking back towards the main hub of the Ylissian force.
Back in Robin's tent, the tactician moved one last time before settling into his sleep. He let out one small mumble while he did so. "...Beautiful...smell..."