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for A Shepherd

5/27/2016 c1 131signelchan
It’s Chrom’s birthday in the real world, which means that fic writers all over are honoring him in the best way they all know how: by writing him a birthday story. And your entry into the celebrations is one of the sweetest, most adorable fics I think I’ve ever read. It showcases just how much people care about the man leading them into battle, and it shows just what kind of people the supporting cast of Fire Emblem: Awakening really are. Of course, it helps immensely that you manage to write every single one of them, no matter the size of their role, as in-character as they are in the game. This is important, because I believe that, if the game allowed it, scenes similar to the ones depicted here in this fic would most definitely fit in right with the scenes in the game itself.

You don’t make it obvious even slightly that they’re planning something big at the end for Chrom—the way you’ve written the fic, it does feel like something is amiss, but it feels more like they’re actively avoiding celebrating because of it being wartime than anything else. To see the people Chrom cares about most acting weird around him does raise red flags, but they aren’t ones of “surprise” so much as they are ones of concern for what other events are happening in-universe. That makes the end reveal that much sweeter, to see how all the characters had been acting the way they had been for a surprise party that wasn’t actually expected, even by the reader.

Chrom’s interactions with his family and his Shepherds are completely natural, and their interactions back with him and with each other are the stuff that most fic writers can only dream of writing. No matter how much or how little time they spend in focus, every side character that is mentioned (they don’t even have to speak!) is written absolutely perfectly. No one is doing anything they wouldn’t logically be doing, and every “strange” action is explained by something well thought not just by the character, but by the writer as well. Having Robin’s tiredness be mentioned but only explained in the end is perfect, as naturally a tactician would be tired after many nights of devising strategies, but his real reason for his exhaustion is just as perfect. (As an aside, I love how you mention his brain and mouth working at two different speeds, because that’s probably the best way I have ever seen anyone describe Robin.) Lucina and her excuse of scouting is also creative, and her revelation that it was a hoax was adorable, especially with her mentioning that keeping up her lie was difficult for her.

The last point I want to touch on for a moment is your choice in ships. When I first started reading this, I assumed you’d include your favorite overall ships, but in the end I come away wondering if you did that, or if you made this fic more enjoyable for your friends and readers by including some ships they love as well. Either way, your shipping choices are impeccable and every one had some sort of meaning to the overall story, which is important in a group fic such as this one.

Okay, I lied, I do have one more point. I’m only marginally disappointed that there weren’t any [Stahl screaming in the distance] jokes made here in this fic. Y’know, because of cake…? We did get him grumbling, but where’s the insistent screaming? Oh, you know I’m joking about this, I hope!

Signel

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