With the release of Chapter 32 of The Ghost of Ochs, our second story arc is complete. Monica and company have fended off an attack on Remire Village, with one of the perpetrators being her arch-enemy, Kronya. The defense mission was a success, but not without cost – many villagers are dead, and Kronya and Myson are still on the loose, disappearing to parts unknown. Maybe now, everyone will get a chance to kick back and relax again…?
Two months? It’s really been two months between the publication of Chapter 30 and Chapter 31? I really am slipping! I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later, especially with this chapter where I was trying to juggle a couple of different viewpoints at once (the first wave of the invasion, then Edelgard’s reinforcements, and finally Monica’s encounter with Kronya) that things wound up less focused than in previous chapters. On the bright side, that means I can bring the second story arc to a close soon and move on.
While the AO3 and FanFiction.net versions of this story will register this as Chapter 31 (because I don’t include Monica’s little nightmare interlude in the chapter numbering), “Lying in Wait” is actually Chapter 30.
Now that I’ve reached the 100,000-word milestone on this fic, I also went and did something that I’d meant to do since the beginning – improve the story summaries on AO3 and FanFiction.net, because I didn’t feel that they adequately described the contents of the story as Monica started meeting new friends and classmates beyond Flayn and the Church of Seiros. Anyone who’s signed up for email alerts on either version will see the story summary with every update. The AO3 version is now a word-for-word copy of the description on the front page, while the FanFiction.net version reads as follows:
“After spending half a year of her life in captivity, the young Adrestian noble Monica von Ochs finds herself back at Garreg Mach Monastery where she is given the opportunity to prepare herself for life beyond the Officers Academy, and the unfamiliar dangers that come with it.”
I’m not sure that the new summary is qualitively “better” than the old one, but I feel that it’s more accurate.
Now, on to the links!
So, a couple of things to talk about for Chapter 29 of The Ghost of Ochs…
- Count Varley, who is mentioned in the game but doesn’t make a physical appearance, is the major reason why Bernadetta is…well, “Bernie-bear”. To make a long story short, everything he does that involves his daughter is guaranteed to produce the exact opposite result of what he ultimately wants in life (i.e. more money, prestige, etc.). In this story, I didn’t feel like it made sense for him to be a complete dick to everyone, so I sent Edelgard and Ferdinand his way as they were the only two people I could think of whom he could pretend to talk to as equals (Edelgard because she’s the princess and he’s trying to buy himself some extra time until she takes the crown and drops the hammer on him for that ugly business with her father years ago, and Ferdinand because Old Man Varley and Old Man Aegir are implied to be pals).
- I gave Ferdinand’s horse a name (Isaac, ostensibly based on one of his ancestors) because I’d already given Ingrid’s pegasus a name, and most Three Houses players should have an idea about Marianne’s horse Dorte. Sylvain’s steed probably has a name, too, but I haven’t thought of it yet. Knowing him, he’ll probably name it after some girl he met in town.
Next chapter, we’re off to Remire! Until then, check the usual hotspots for this chapter:
Before I started writing chapter 28, I wondered what happens to those who commit crimes against the Church of Seiros who don’t immediately get executed like the few leftover Western Church priests did after the Rite of Rebirth. I figured that some of them get shipped off to some prison somewhere and aren’t seen again for a while. As ruthless as the archbishop is against evildoers, Rhea knows she can’t kill everyone connected to the Western Church without receiving significant blowback.
Hapi (who makes her first in-person appearance in this chapter) was unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and wound up getting arrested for it, and was placed in the same facility as a few surviving Western Church members. The “who” and “why” (and maybe also “when”) will be explored in the next chapter.
Until then, you can read Chapter 28: Housing Station for Wayward Souls on this site or at the usual mirrors:
It’s way too tempting for me to make a “Year of the Ochs” joke considering that this weekend marks the start of the Lunar New Year festivities. That said, my publishing of Chapter 27 of Ghost couldn’t have been timed more perfectly, since I’m also on a three-day weekend for Presidents’ Day.
(Minor game spoilers below.)
Remire Village just seems to get the rawest of deals in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. First, there’s the tutorial mission where Kostas’ bandit gang attacks Byleth and the three lords in the middle of the night. Several months later, the village turns against itself as “those who slither in the dark” play their hand and force the villagers to kill each other.
(End of spoilers.)
That’s pretty much the same scenario we’re about to find ourselves in with the coming chapters of the story (and around the same month in this timeline, too). Will the Black Eagles’ attempt at a preemptive defensive maneuver save this village from yet another catastrophe? Let’s hope so…those guys need a break in a major way.
Mirrors for this chapter:
On January 12, 2020, I uploaded the first chapter of The Ghost of Ochs to Archive of Our Own and FanFiction.net. As I explained in my intro post, I wanted to write a story about one of Fire Emblem: Three Houses‘ more mysterious and/or little-spoken-of characters in Monica von Ochs (the real one, not the person pretending to be her; see that post for more details). In the year since the release of that chapter and the publication of today’s chapter, it’s picked up a pretty decent following. Here are some statistics I pulled at around 12:00 PM today:
Archive of Our Own: 3881 total hits (all chapters)?, 77 comments, 97 Kudos, 12 bookmarks (public; the private “Statistics” page shows me 16 instead of 12)
FanFiction.net: 11565 total hits (all chapters), 54 favorites, 66 alerts, and only 2 reviews (what FF.net calls comments)
Not bad, if I do say so myself.
I didn’t really have anything special or earth-shattering for this milestone, because then I’d feel compelled to post a special chapter or side story every year. Still, let’s just enjoy this moment for what it is and hope that I can still provide enough quality content to make it to two years…even if I have to be prodded into doing so by outside forces.
As always, here are the links to the latest chapter:
Update (1/13/2021): As of 4:30 PM today, The Ghost of Ochs has officially crossed the 100 kudos threshold on Archive of Our Own! On second thought, maybe I will do something special for hitting this mark.
It took me a lot longer than I wanted to thanks to rewrites and sending out Christmas presents, but I’m glad to say that I’ve finished posting Chapter 25 of The Ghost of Ochs. With this update, Ghost has now surpassed 80,000 total words written, beating my old writing project, Through the Motions, as the longest story I’ve ever written. At the rate I’m going, I’m not too sure if I’ll ever get back to work on Motions…there’s too much that I wish I could have done better with that story that a near-total rewrite would have to do.
I also added a Links page to some stories and webcomics that I’ve been reading and enjoying lately. This list will grow and/or shrink depending on the availability of the stories in question, so check that page out frequently (and my stories, too, of course) and see if you find something else you like.
As always, the new chapter can be found at the usual mirrors:
Chapter 24: Trouble Afoot is now up.
Now that the Black Eagles have completed their investigation, they’re called on by Byleth to put their information together and pinpoint their enemy’s location. Who or what will they find when they prepare their attack?
Chapter 23 is up!
Remember that “secret thing” Bernadetta was working on for Linhardt earlier? Now she gets to give it to him for a birthday present. The “Bernie-bear” reference was too easy to make, so I went for it.
I had a discussion with a longtime friend on Discord (who’s a much bigger Fire Emblem enthusiast than I am) regarding who would be the second-best at fishing at the Officers Academy, and we agreed it would be Leonie. She wound up winning this friendly competition between her, Monica, Linhardt, Byleth, Jeralt, and (appearing for the first time in this story) Alois.
Next up, a special classroom meeting, and then maybe a battle or two. Stay tuned!
Mirrors for this chapter can be found at the usual spots: