We’re now on Chapter 41 of The Ghost of Ochs! I didn’t mean for this one to come out two months after Chapter 40, but when Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes comes calling, I’m compelled to answer. Not much more to say today, except go read it!
(The following post contains spoilers for Fire Emblem: Three Houses and the first few chapters of Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.)
About two-and-a-half years ago, I started writing The Ghost of Ochs with the intent of giving Monica, an NPC from Fire Emblem: Three Houses, her own backstory and personality, expecting the sparse information about her life before “those who slither in the dark” got to her to be the end of her story. Then Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes comes along (my copy just shipped and should be at my doorstep tomorrow morning), and not only does Monica show up in a cutscene in the February 2022 Nintendo Direct reveal trailer, but one of the first missions you get after meeting Edelgard, Dimitri, and Claude is to free Monica from one of “those who slither’s” dungeons. And because Monica is such–well, to call her a “big fan” of Edelgard would be severely underselling it–she joins Edelgard’s faction without hesitation, and becomes a playable ally if you choose to support the Black Eagles.
I’m not sure whether I should wonder whether someone at Nintendo read my fanfic while working on Three Hopes (since the canon interpretation of “Monnie” also seems to have a thing for girls, considering that out of the few A-rank supports that were shown in the demo, one is with Hubert, her self-styled rival for Edelgard’s attention and affection, and the other two are Edelgard and Dorothea), but it’s nice to know there’s genuine interest in the character beyond my silly little 150,000-word story.
Seeing the seeds of the Edelgard/Monica relationship in the Three Hopes demo made me re-examine their scenes in Three Houses. Edelgard is the one who brings up information on House Ochs’ dire situation after you have to mercy-kill Monica’s father in one side quest, and if you have Edelgard challenge Kronya during the Sealed Forest mission, she looks and sounds angry at the assassin (almost as mad as Leonie is considering who Kronya had just murdered) – not just because her cover almost gets blown, but because “those who slither” probably killed one of Edelgard’s old friends and had Kronya use the body as a puppet to keep a close eye on her. Could Nintendo have been setting up this connection all along and I hadn’t paid close enough attention to it?
(Spoilers end here.)
Anyway, I’m glad I was able to get Chapter 40 out before the day of Three Hopes’ release even though I’d spent the last two weeks milking the demo for all its worth. One of the survivors of the Remire tragedy shows up to warn Monica and a few of her friends that the Death Knight (the one who kidnapped Flayn before the start of the story) is still at large, and may be closer than they think. With security patrols being stepped up around Garreg Mach Monastery, it’s obvious that Archbishop Rhea isn’t going to take this threat lying down, even if the rumors around town get wilder and wilder…
Whether or not you’re planning on picking up Three Hopes at any point, why don’t you give my story a read here, or at the usual spots:
A lot later than I was hoping, but it’s up.
Getting Chapter 39 out on my now-usual monthly schedule didn’t go as planned for two reasons:
- I ran into that old enemy of enemies: writer’s block. I’d planned on fitting Lorenz and Lysithea into the story for a while, but I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do with them. This is another “training” chapter, and one of the things I try to do with scenes like this is try to strike up some interesting banter between the characters involved, rather than just use the scene as a vehicle for making the characters stronger. The challenge comes from doing so with characters who don’t interact with each other in the source material. Outside of support conversations, everyone at the Officers Academy tends to stick with their familiar cliques (not unlike school in real life), so it wasn’t as easy for me to think of dialogue for, say, Marianne trying to convince Bernadetta that her horse Dorte doesn’t want to trample her. I figured I’d give it the old college try anyway. Hopefully, I succeeded.
- Nintendo dropped another hype trailer for Three Hopes last month that seemed to hint that, yes, Monica is alive in this continuity and will be playable. There was just enough there to show what to expect from the game in a gameplay sense, and that gave me enough incentive to place my preorder.
My next objective is to get chapter 40 ready to go on or before release week, because most of my attention will be on that once it’s out.
Until then, you can read up on the latest chapter here, or at the regular mirrors:
As I wrote this month’s new chapter, I scoured FEDatamine.com to find out who in the Black Eagles would be the most enthusiastic about the White Heron Cup. Dorothea (most likely to win), Ferdinand, and Caspar (least likely) were the only three who out-and-out beg the player to choose them, while Edelgard is on the fence but willing to participate if chosen (unlike Dimitri and Claude, who will both wish you picked someone else). Choosing a candidate between Monica and the first three wasn’t really a choice at all, but I wanted to keep her in the running so that she could get some practice in for the ball.
Now that that’s over with, here are the obligatory links:
This entry has also been posted on my Dreamwidth blog, and can be viewed at https://waltzoid.dreamwidth.org/6379.html. It also contains some spoilers for both Fire Emblem: Three Houses and The Ghost of Ochs, so please proceed carefully.
Going over the statistics for The Ghost of Ochs on FanFiction.net (I really wish Archive of Our Own went into chapter-by-chapter breakdowns of fan fictions at any given time), I’ve noticed that my view count follows a typical downward slope, with a couple of bumps during the more action-heavy chapters. In the first story arc, the bumps happened at Chapters 8 (Monica’s first battle since rejoining the Black Eagles) and 12 (when the demonic beasts attack Garreg Mach). Another one in the second arc came at the first interlude (where Monica has a nightmare of being chased by a demonic beast), which is funny because it’s the shortest “chapter” in the story outside of the intro at only about 500 words.
The biggest jump in viewership, however, was in Chapter 31 (the Remire Village battle).Continue reading “Anything but “by the numbers””
(The following post contains spoilers for Fire Emblem: Three Houses.)
Tonight’s new chapter of The Ghost of Ochs, Warming Glow, concerns Byleth investigating that weird artifact in the garden that was mentioned back in Chapters 5 and 18. In the game, it’s where you’d scan amiibos to gain rewards (and bonus music from past Fire Emblem titles if you used an amiibo like Marth, Lucina, or Robin while looking at it). It also grants access to a backdoor in the Holy Tomb, where you can go once per chapter to collect rare items. The weird thing is that you appear behind the throne, but there’s no reachable exit or backdoor, so one has to wonder how Byleth escapes from the tomb without getting noticed or stuck. In this story, at least, I included another, smaller teleportation orb like the one in the garden that reacts to Byleth’s Crest. There’s more to the tomb than first appearances might indicate, but we’ll leave those mysteries open for later chapters.Continue reading “Ghost Chapter 37 + thoughts on the upcoming FE spinoff”
The magic word for Chapter 36 of The Ghost of Ochs is “Birthday”. Monica turns nineteen years old (after worrying that she wouldn’t survive beyond her eighteenth birthday), which means she gets a handful of gifts from her friends and family! In related news, Monica’s mother (who isn’t mentioned in the game; maybe she died in the war against Brigid) even gets to meet Constance, which, for all of you Chris Rock fans out there, is a minor indicator that things might be getting a little more serious.
The thing is, I wanted to post this chapter on the story’s second anniversary (January 12), but I realized I had to rewrite most of the first third of it because it talked more about the Garreg Mach ball, which is another month down the line. The bad news is that Raphael, Ashe, and Sylvain were part of it and they don’t appear in this chapter after the rewrite, but I decided to keep Leonie, who was also in the original version of that part of the chapter. Even though Leonie doesn’t get to meet Baron Ochs again, she and Monica have a short chat a few days before his arrival.
Fresh off my non-winning NaNoWriMo break, I went ahead and posted Chapter 35 of The Ghost of Ochs just in time for Christmas. This chapter isn’t Christmas-themed (the actual Christmas analogue in Three Houses appears to be the White Heron Cup and the subsequent Garreg Mach ball, which will probably be covered in a later chapter), but it does feature Byleth making good on a promise to Hapi to take steps to help her break the curse that causes her to summon monsters instead of animals.
January 12, 2022 will be the second anniversary of the day I first published this story (not on here, but on Archive of Our Own and FanFiction.net), and I have a thematically appropriate chapter planned for that day. No points for guessing what that is.
The Wattpad version of the story is only up to Chapter 9 as I continue to add chapters weekly until it reaches parity with the other versions. For the links to the other mirrors, you can read any of them below:
This year, my Fire Emblem-loving friend Lynn and I decided on writing fanfics for each other in lieu of holiday presents this year. Her contribution was So, Let’s Be Heroes!, an idea I had where Cynthia from Fire Emblem: Awakening takes on Sophie and Percy from Fire Emblem Fates as her squires. In exchange, she asked me to write a story where Edelgard and Constance from Fire Emblem: Three Houses sneak off to take in the city life while Ferdinand and Hubert handle Edelgard’s internal affairs, and I used that to write A Capital Idea. This is the first time I’ve done one of these, but I had fun writing that little scene. Maybe I’ll do some more prompts like this in the future.
Links for So, Let’s Be Heroes!
Links for A Capital Idea
In Chapter 34, Monica hasn’t fully forgotten about the bandit woman who attacked her during her first month back at the academy. Even though she hasn’t heard anything from Raine since then, she makes a point to try to dig into her background to figure out what she was doing in Imperial territory in the first place.
Later on, Edelgard receives a letter from Bernadetta’s father that surprises both of them.
And now, for some links:
A couple of things before I go:
- It looks like I’ve dialed back my updates to a once-per-month schedule. Next month, I’m going to take another swing at NaNoWriMo, so there won’t be a chapter update in November. The next expected chapter updates should arrive in December and/or January.
- I’ve added Wattpad to the list of websites where this story can be found. To give Wattpad account readers some time to catch up, I’ll post each chapter from the beginning once a week (Saturdays) until that version is up-to-date with the other versions.