This shouldn't have happened. It should have been a regular day for me.
I had just gotten out of my apartment, ready to get to university. The elevator was already taken, so I decided to take the stairs. All in all, nothing out of the ordinary.
Except I tripped like an idiot and fell down.
I'm not sure what happened afterwards, but now my body is feeling stiff and everything around me is dark.
"I'm telling you Alois, we've gotta do something!"
Oh, and I'm hearing voices now. Lovely.
"Right, uh...what do we do?"
Curious as to who is speaking, I open my eyes and am met by what I can only describe as a pair of weirdos.
One is a woman that had to be around my age, with blonde hair partially kept in a ponytail, blue eyes, and tanned skin. The other is kneeling beside me and I can see he is an older man, possibly in his forties, with brownish hair, water green eyes and a funny mustache.
Nothing weird there, except they are both wearing a set of medieval-looking white armor.
And strangely, they seem familiar.
"Hey, he's awake!" the woman says.
"Ah, greetings, sir!" the man tells me, more loudly than necessary, a broad smile forming on his face.
"Uh…" I hesitate a moment, not sure what to make of these two "Hi?"
"You alright there, buddy?" the woman chimes in, "A field isn't the most comfortable of places to sleep in, you know?"
My words die in my throat as I take a look at my surroundings. I'm laying on a field of grass, trees and the clear blue sky the only things visible nearby. This could be anywhere, but it's definitely nowhere near where I live.
"Dove…" I say, a wave of agitation coming over me "Dove sono?"
So these two can't understand italian at all. Really off to a good start.
"Sorry. I said 'Where am I?'"
The two look at me like I've grown a second head.
"You...don't know where you are?" the woman asks me.
"De last ding I remember is falling down de stairs and den I woke up here with you two."
The two keep looking at me weirdly.
"Do you understand what I'm saying?" I try asking them, "Is my English clear enough?"
"Ah, sorry," the man intervenes "We do understand you. Though I don't know what an 'ing leash' is."
How does he not know what it is? He's speaking it right now!
"Maybe we should start this over," the woman interrupts, offering her hand to me, "First of all, let's get you up. I doubt that position is comfortable."
I take her hand and prepare to pull myself up. But to my surprise, the blonde manages to effortlessly lift me up all by herself. She must be pretty strong to pull that off.
As soon as I get on my feet, I have a better look at the two of them.
The man's armor has an exaggeratedly huge pauldron on his left shoulder and a cape coming down from his shoulders.
The woman's armor is less over the top, except for a skirt-thingy covering the right part of her lower body. Oh, and also some kind of branched sword resting at her hip.
Assuming this isn't what they wear everyday, their outfits seem too silly to be proper medieval armor. A pair of cosplayers for an anime convention, perhaps?
"Tank you, miss," I tell the woman.
"Don't mention it," she says jovially, "The name's Catherine, by the way. No need for that whole 'miss' stuff."
"And I'm Alois Rangeld!" the man, who has also rose up, bombastically declares "We're both Knights of Seiros!"
Alois? Knight of Seiros?
Wait a moment...I know those names. They're characters and an organization from a videogame. A japanese videogame with anime influences. Two people cosplaying as characters from that game would make sense for an anime convention. But if these two actually claim to be them…
I take a quick glance at their armors and notice they do have a badge with the Crest of Seiros on their collars, just like in their game. Their faces do look somewhat like those characters' and they are both also taller than me, like their in-game counterparts. And Catherine's sword - Thunderbrand, right? - was a branched sword.
Either they are damn good cosplayers, or I hit my head too hard and am hallucinating. Or this is that game and I'm fucked.
Nononono, bad train of thought. This is real life, not one of those self-insert fics.
"Hey, you still in there, buddy?" 'Catherine's' words snap me back to reality.
"Sorry, sorry," I say hastily, "What were you saying?"
"I asked what your name is."
I notice her right hand is resting on her hip. Very close to the hilt of the 'sword'.
She's that kind of cosplayer, uh?
"Sorry. My name is Eugenio. It's nice to meet you."
"Likewise, Mister Eugenio," 'Alois' declares in his characteristically bombastic way. This cosplayer is really nailing that side of him.
"So," 'Catherine' chimes in, her hand still close to the 'sword', "What was that bit about falling down the stairs?"
Oh right, I didn't explain that.
"I stumbled on de stairs in my house while I was going down," I explain to the two, "I fell and next ding I know, I'm here."
"Ouch," 'Alois' comments "One of my fellows once had a similar incident. Got some pretty bad bruises afterwards. I guess you could say he had a..." oh no, please, don't tell me he's going to "Fall from grace, ahahahah!"
Goddammit cosplayer, did you really have to nail that as well?
"Well, I think I can fill a bit of that gap," 'Catherine' says, her hand coming away from her hip "Alois and I were passing by here when you literally appeared out of thin air."
Out of thin…? Ok, no, think! That's not something that can actually happen. She must have seen wrong.
"How would I even…?"
"No idea," 'Catherine' shrugs "Maybe some spell gone wrong sent you here?"
Did she just say 'spell'? Why would that be the first thing that comes to her mind?
"Also," her hand goes back to her hip, "What's with your outfit?
"Uh…" I look down at myself but fail to notice anything out of the ordinary "Noting? It's a simple hoodie."
"I don't think so," 'Catherine' replies, her brow furrowing and her hand coming closer to the sword's hilt "It doesn't look like any from here in Fódlan."
Oh, good lord, must she really overplay her…?
I widen my eyes when I see a slight glow coming from a pommel in her sword's hilt. Or rather, from a small orb inside that pommel. An orb with a symbol that reminds me of the Crest of Charon.
"I suppose if you're foreign it might…"
"Wait," I interrupt her, a terrible thought coming to my mind, "Dis is really Fódlan? You're actually Knights of Seiros?"
"Well, duh!" she answers while knocking on her chestplate, which makes an eerily metallic sound, "Why would you think…?"
Whatever she says next, I don't hear. My whole body freezes and I'm pretty sure my eyes widen even more at the horror of the realization.
Jesus frigging Christ! This is one of those self-insert stories! I've been taken to Fire Fucking Emblem Three Motherfucking Houses!
What the shit am I supposed to do now? I'm not a fighter! I don't know crap about combat!
"Oi, you still in there?"
What am I even supposed to tell everyone? They'll laugh and call me crazy if I tell them the truth! What can I even invent with what I've already said?
And why did it have to be Three Houses? Couldn't it be Awakening like everyone else? Hell, why Fire Emblem in the first place? Couldn't it be something harmless like Pókemon?
And what about my family back on Earth? Are they going to think I've disappeared? Been kidnapped?
...or is this one of those cases where I die and then go to another world? Is that what happened? Are they going to find my lifeless body in the…?
I'm literally shaken out of my thoughts by two strong hands on my shoulders. I blink several times and I notice my breathing has quickened.
"Steady breaths!" Catherine says, her tone taking a commanding note and her face matching it.
I follow her command, slowing down my breathing until it's at an acceptable pace.
"Now," the blonde Knight takes her hands off of me, although they thankfully don't go back to her hips, "I'm gonna ask you some questions. You give me simple answers, alright?"
"Where are you from?"
"...Italy," I answer, hesitating only for a moment "It's...a land far far away from Fódlan."
"Good, good," she replies, apparently unfazed by the name "And do you know where exactly it is?"
"...no. Fódlan is only known through stories," a partial lie, but how could I explain what a videogame is? "As far as anyone from my country knows, it never really existed."
"Well, as you can see, we're plenty real,"
Unfortunately so, Catherine.
"As for this 'Italy'," Alois adds, a sad look coming to his face, "I'm sorry to say it, but no one here knows where it is either. I can tell you even without looking at a map that no cartographer has ever reported a land by that name."
Unsurprising. How could they report it if it's on a different world entirely?
Well, what now? It looks like I'm officially stranded here. God, that still feels so absurd to believe.
My first instinct would be to look for a way back home, but I don't know if Three Houses has any interdimensional macguffins I can take advantage of.
Besides, my first priority should be finding shelter, food and water. The problem is, with only the clothes on me, I won't be able to afford any of that in a medieval world. Now, how do I…?
"Ahem," Catherine stirs me from my thoughts once again, "You have a habit of drifting off, don't you?"
"Unfortunately," I admit, "What did you say?"
"I asked if you know of Garreg Mach Monastery," Alois intervenes.
"The monastery at the center of Fódlan?"
"Yup, that's the one," he confirms with his trademark smile on his face, "How about we take you there? The Monastery can offer you shelter."
"Are you sure that's wise, Alois?" Catherine interrupts him, her face hardening, "We have no way of confirming his story. Doesn't it all sound a bit outlandish to you?"
Oh no, don't tell me I'm about to be impaled by Thunderbrand!
"Outlandish or not, you saw how he got here. If he meant the Monastery harm, wouldn't he have gotten directly there?"
Catherine makes to reply but instead she relents and her face relaxes.
"Alright, you have a point this time."
"Of course I do!" Alois chuckles before turning back to me "So how does that sound?"
My first instinct is to decline. This offer would resolve my problems, but I have no way of knowing when the game's plot will begin, only that I'd rather have no part in that craziness.
But if I do decline I'd be back at square one, and I wouldn't survive long on my own.
Guess I'll have to make the most of it and get out before the Death Knight and Flame Emperor show up.
"Would dey really let me stay?"
"Of course! Garreg Mach is open to all!"
All who don't piss your Archbishop off, you mean.
"Very well," I sigh.
"Excellent!" he turns once again to Catherine "Think you and the others can keep looking for Monica while I accompany him?"
Monica? Isn't that the name of the girl Kronya disguises as?
If this is when she disappears from the Monastery, it means right now it should be short before the graduation of the students from the year before the game's characters'.
And if memory serves me right, that should be a month before the game's beginning.
"Alright, then!" Alois' bombastic voice stirs me back to attention "Come with me, Eugenio."
"See you at the Monastery," Catherine adds before storming off into the woods.
Alois starts walking in the opposite direction and I quickly follow him.
It isn't long before the two of us arrive on a path leading towards the mountains, where I can already see the shape of a huge structure with steeples that remind me of Notre-Dame from that one time I went to Paris. There are also walls on the lower levels of the hill it rests upon.
I can take a guess at what that is.
"There it is! Garreg Mach Monastery!"
The two of us simply walk across the path for a bit. Alois' pace is faster than what I'm used to, but not one I can't keep up with.
As we get closer to the Monastery I can also take a better look at it. Even from this distance, the place looks huge. Huge enough to say comparing it to Notre-Dame might have belittled its size.
I also notice some shapes literally flying around its aerial vicinity. Those have got to be Pegasus Knights and Wyvern Riders.
Boy oh boy, if I see a live Pegasus or Wyvern it's sure going to be weird.
"You know, you've been lucky we found you before any thief did," Alois says at one point, "They would have robbed you of quite the honor."
And not just that, thank you very much.
"From what you and Catherine said, I assume you were looking for someone named 'Monica'?" I ask, mostly to prevent him from making any more of his bad jokes.
"Ah, yes," his face falls almost immediately, "One of the students at the Academy. She mysteriously disappeared last night. The other Knights and I had been dispatched to find her."
Yeah, good luck with that.
Although...was the Officers Academy in the game relatively recently founded or was it as old as Garreg Mach? Would I be contradicting myself if I already know of it?
"Tere's an Academy nearby?" yeah, playing ignorant should do either way.
"You don't know of it?" Alois stares at me with a stupefied look "The Officers Academy! The most prestigious place of study in all of Fódlan! It's right at the Monastery!"
"I tought it was de main place of worship for de Church of Seiros,"
"Well, it is. But there's more to it than that. Just how much of Fódlan's history do you know?"
Yikes. Getting right to the point, are you?
"Uh...Seiros and de Four Saints defeated Nemesis, de Adrestian Empire was established, a few decades later Garreg Mach was founded and…" I hesitate after that. How much more can I say before I get to history recent enough for my bullshit to fall apart?
"Dat's...pretty much it, I tink," I ultimately tell him.
Alois rubs the back of his neck at that "Well, that's…uh..."
That pause doesn't sound good.
"Inaccurate?" Please don't tell me this is an alternate Fódlan or some other nonsense like that.
"No, just...out of date," oh, good "It has been almost a millennium since the Monastery's founding. A lot of things have changed since then."
No surprise there, "Can you give me a rundown?"
"Well, there have been several conflicts with nations neighbouring Fódlan, mainly Dagda and Brigid to the west and Almyra to the east. After a few succession disputes, parts of the Empire have seceded and formed the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus to the north and the Leicester Alliance to the east."
Ok so far so good, this is how it was in the game.
"So now it's Faerghus to de nort, Leicester to de east and Adrestia everywhere else?" he nods at my question "Understood."
Just as we finish that conversation, we arrive at the base of the hill, where the path begins to proceed all the way up to each wall and then to the Monastery itself.
And when I say all the way up, I mean all the long, steep way up.
"Now we go up."
I turn to him. He's smiling still, and not in any kind of mischievous way.
As an asmatic, doing excessive exercises - like following an upward path at full sprint - is the kind of thing that I should never be doing.
Too bad I can't explain what an asmatic is in a medieval setting.
The climb immediately proves as steep as it looked. Despite that, Alois proceeds through it like it's nothing, only stopping when he notices I'm falling behind.
"Not used to this, are you?" he asks at one point.
"More like…" I say between heavy breaths "Trying to...endure...with my...weak lungs."
"There's no such thing as 'weak lungs'! You'll see, this will do you some good!"
If I don't die first.
Thankfully, every time we reach one of the walls, there's a few minutes of respite while Alois gets us free passage through those walls. Not many, though, since because this is Alois the guards give him that way too quickly, only wasting time to have looks at me. What sorts of looks those are, I can not tell.
What I can tell is that by the time we reach some sort of small town outside of the last wall, I'm struggling to breath properly.
"I'm going...to hate...climbing...for de rest...of my days."
"Oh, come on, it wasn't that bad."
True. I didn't trip and wake up in another world again. Doesn't change the fact that now I'm exhausted.
"Speak for yourself," I shoot back, "How are you...not even...breaking a sweat? Do dey...do dey make you...go up and down...every day?"
"Well...yes and no. The previous Captain had all recruits run up and down every morning as a training exercise. Most have taken up different training regimes since then, but I still like to partake in it every now and again," goddammit, Jeralt!
"I guess you could say, I'm…" oh, no! "Running it into the ground!"
Be thankful I'm too tired to strangle you, Alois, because I want to so damn much!
After I manage to catch my breath, we proceed through the small town towards the Monastery's gates.
I've got to say, the place looks more well kept than you'd expect from historical accounts of the era the game is based on. Clean streets, no beggars, no people walking around dressed in rags.
Although, perhaps that was due to the fact that there didn't seem to be many buildings that served as actual homes. Some appeared to be inns, yes, but most of the rest were shops of some kind.
Was this place just some sort of enlarged mall for the students and the Academy's staff?
Regardless, because the place isn't particularly big, we arrive at the gates fairly quickly, and from there it's the same as at the wall: Alois says hello, the guards say hello back, they glance at me and then they let us pass.
Beyond the gates, there's an ensemble of tents and carts. Near almost each tent I can see a counter and a person selling stuff that varies from food to various types of weapons. This must be the in-game market. But since it is not what we are here for, we pass it quickly.
Right after that, we come across a man - possibly a boy younger than me - wearing the same set of armor as the other guards, helmet included. All I can see properly of him is his chin and his smiling mouth.
"Greetings, Sir Alois!"
"Hi there, Nebail!" Alois smiles back at the boy, "How are things today?"
"Nothing to report, sir!" why does that line sound familiar? "Any sign of Monica?"
"Nothing for now," Alois sighs "But I've found someone else who needed help."
He then turns to me, "Eugenio, this is Gatekeeper Nebail," wait, is he the Gatekeeper? "Nebail, allow me to introduce Eugenio."
"Uh...hi?" is all I can say to him. Really wasn't expecting to meet this guy.
"Ah, greetings Sir Eugenio!" he cheerfully says as he waves at me, "I'm the Gatekeeper here! My job here is to vigilantly guard this entrance with my very life! But you probably figured that out, right?" he chuckles softly, "What brings you to Garreg Mach?"
"Well, first of all, you can drop dat 'sir'. I'm pretty sure a foreigner's position in Fódlan's social hierarchy is dat of a commoner."
"Ah, I see," his eyes trail down to my clothes "Are you from Dagda? No wait, Lady Shamir has never worn anything like that. Mach, perhaps? Or maybe Morfis?"
"His origins are complicated," Alois intervenes before I can reply "Essentially, we found him nearby with no idea of how he came to Fódlan."
"Indeed. Do you know where Seteth is right now?"
"Ah, yes. I think he's in his office. Probably preparing graduation day despite, well…"
Despite Monica missing. And, unbeknownst to them, dead or whatever the Slitherers did to her. Or are going to do to her.
"Right," Alois sighs "Well, we're off. Keep up the good work, my boy."
"Of course, sir!" the Gatekeeper salutes him.
And then we're on the move again.
I must say, as majestic as Garreg Mach appeared in the games, the real thing doesn't feel that greater compared to other churches I've been to. The deity worshipped might be different, but the same sense of grandeur big places like this try to convey remains the same. And it more than wore down for me long ago.
The one thing that's different from those places is the amount of attention I attract from the people around me.
Every corridor Alois and I walk through, every corner we turn, if there is someone, they turn their gazes in our directions. Or rather, mine.
Some of them are people armored from head to toe - probably Knights of Seiros - whose expressions I can't read any more than the guards at the walls. But the majority are either folks wearing white and brown clerical robes - priests and priestesses of the Church I suspect - or teens wearing black jackets with bronze markings - the students of this year, I'd wager.
And their expressions I can see.
What they are looking at is not me specifically, but rather what I wear. All of them are looking at it with either confusion or disapproval or something in between.
And why shouldn't they? As Catherine said, this isn't something of their world. Just like I am not.
I shake my head at that thought. Now's not the time for that.
Occasionally, I have a look at the students, curious to see if I can recognize any of those from the game.
Disappointingly, although not unexpectedly since this is the year before their own, I find none of them. But perhaps if I stick around long enough...
No, that's not a good line of thought. My goal here is finding a way home before all the craziness. Byleth is the one that will have to deal with Edelgard's plots, Dimitri's PTSD and Claude's ambitions. I'm just a passer-by that must make sure not to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I'll just be content to have met Alois, Catherine and the Gatekeeper. And apparently Seteth.
Who is actually Saint Cichol. Who is actually a millenia old dragon whose family was butchered by humans that harvested their organs to create magic weapons. And who may think I'm a threat to eliminate if I say the wrong thing.
"Ah, here we are!" Alois declares, snapping me back to reality.
We are now standing before a door, presumably the entrance to Seteth's office. I'm not sure when we got here, but I'm suddenly thinking coming to the Monastery was a terrible idea.
"Now, listen: Seteth is the assistant of Archbishop Rhea, the leader of the Church. First thing we need to do is introduce you to him and explain your situation. He'll then introduce you to the Archbishop and we'll work the details from there. Sounds good?"
"What do I do if he tells me to leave?"
"Nah, that won't happen! I've known him since he started working here twenty years ago," Twenty? How did he keep up the 'older than I look' thing for so long? "He may appear austere at first, but he's actually a very nice fellow."
"Now, then," he turns to the door and raises his fist "Let's…"
Before he can knock, the door opens and we come face-to-face with a man wearing a caped dark blue tunic with bronze markings similar to those of the students' and a circlet around his head. He also has green eyes, hair and beard and a solemn expression on his face.
"Good day, Alois," he greets the Knight.
"Ah, good day to you as well, Seteth! How did you know I was here?"
"I heard you through the door," he then turns to me "I assume you are the one whose situation needs to be explained?"
"Ah, yes," I gulp. Here goes nothing I guess "My name is Eugenio. Glad to meet you mister Setet."
"Likewise," he says neutrally before his eyes start sizing me up.
"I don't think I've ever seen an outfit like yours, though," he says after a bit, "Where does it come from?"
"From my homeland," I answer. Better stick as close to the truth as possible with him "It's a land you probably don't know. It's called Italy."
He arches an eyebrow at my answer and his gaze turns scrutinizing.
"Please, come into my office you two," he just says "I believe you have quite a lot to explain."
He goes back inside and we follow him.
This office of his is a simple thing: just a pair of bookshelves resting against the walls and a wooden desk. And matching the spirit of the room, the only things on it are a mountain of papers, an inkwell and a feather resting inside it.
Seteth sits on his side of the desk and gestures for us to sit at the other.
"So…" he begins, "I believe you and the Knights were on a mission, Alois. How did you come across him?"
What follows is Alois' retelling of his and Catherine's meeting with me and what I told them, mixed with a couple of his bad jokes that Seteth doesn't even acknowledge. In fact, he remains impassive even through what must probably seem like the most outlandish of claims.
Maybe after being told I'm from a country he's never heard of before, he is prepared for any and all strangeness.
Or maybe he's just looking for inconsistencies in my story and use them to tear it apart. That seems more likely.
"So let me summarize," he tells me when Alois is finished "You say you come from a land far away from Fódlan, whose knowledge of it stems only from legends detailing our ancient history. And the only thing you know about how you arrived here is that one moment you were falling down your house's stairs and the next you are in a field?"
The blank stare he gives me says the question he's not asking.
Well, now what do I say?
"I know it sounds absurd," to put it mildly "But it's true."
"I can attest to that!" Alois jumps in my defense, "Catherine and I were both there when it happened!"
"So you've said, Alois," Seteth concedes "However, a Warp spell powerful enough to send him from Dagda or Almyra to the Oghma Mountains would have been too complex to perform on such short notice. And from what you are saying, he comes from even farther than that."
Alois makes to rebut, but whatever he's going to say dies in his throat almost immediately.
Seteth turns back to me "What do you have to say on the matter? Does your country possess the means necessary to perform that kind of spell?"
...I can't tell them we don't have magic. He'll never believe that.
"In all honesty, I know very little of magic as well," yeah, let's go with that "But I'm pretty sure no one near where I live is an experienced mage," understatement of the century.
Seteth doesn't say anything at first, apparently opting to just stare at me some more.
"What is it you intend to do then?"
That caught me off guard.
"Now that you are here in Fódlan, what is it you intend to do?"
"I…" I have to take a deep breath before continuing "What I would like to do is return home. As exciting as finding out a legendary land actually exists, I have a life where I come from. Aldough…" I pause, the next few words hard to hear from my own mouth "Aldough I don't know if...if I…"
"I understand," Seteth interrupts me, his expression softening ever so slightly.
It takes me a couple more calming breaths before going on "But first, I need some form of shelter. And I don't know enough about de land to handle myself," I point at Alois "Heck, if he hadn't told me, I would have had no idea de Empire had split up," a lie, but still consistent with what I said so far.
His face becomes meditative at that, probably evaluating if I'm believable enough or not.
"I think we can arrange something that would benefit both you and the Church," he says, "The Church can offer you room and board in exchange for a bit of labor."
"What sort of labor?"
"Cleaning rooms, aiding in the kitchen or greenhouse, keeping the library in order, that sort of things."
Ok, manual labor I can do. But I hope my job won't be all of those.
"Alright," I concede, "I tink dat is doable."
"Great!" Alois chimes in.
"Now," he stands up, "If you'd follow me, I'll take you to the Archbishop."
I almost sigh. I managed to convince him I don't need to be killed. Yet. Now I just need to convince the unstable Dragon Pope with a misanthropic view of humanity.
Easy peasy, right?
It isn't long before Seteth leads us to the entrance of the Archbishop's chambers. He enters before us to explain the situation to Rhea and the conditions of our arrangement.
Leaving me with my worries.
"Nope, he hasn't."
And Alois. Who is currently making no sense.
"He hasn't what?"
"Worked here since he was a child. That's usually everyone's reaction when I tell them he's been here for twenty years."
Alois shrugs, "No idea, in twenty years he's always looked exactly the same."
He briefly looks around and then leans closer to my ear.
"I believe it has to do with the fact that he possesses a Major Crest of Cichol," he whispers, "Major Crests of the Saints seem to grant a longer lifespan."
I wish I could tell him the truth. It would save me all this playing ignorant.
"What makes you say dat?" I whisper back.
"My old mentor possessed a Major Crest of Seiros and he once told me he stopped counting his years when he reached a hundred years of age. A hundred!"
I pretend to be surprised, "Well, damn."
"I know, right?"
The door opens shortly after that exchange.
"The Archbishop will now receive you," Seteth says as he gestures for us to come in.
Two things catch my attention as we enter.
The first is how clean it is. Like impossibly clean if this place is where Rhea spends most of her days.
The second one is something in common with Seteth's office: no personal belongings. Only the same glass windows this place has in the game as well.
And of course, in the middle of it there's the woman herself.
"Welcome, Eugenio," she greets me, "I am Archbishop Rhea."
Her outfit is much like the one from the game, with the white robe, blue cape with the trademark bronze markings and the headpiece with those silly blue ribbons.
Rhea herself is also like in the game: green hair and eyes combo, standing tall and steady and with a serene expression on her face that still seems to demand respect.
Of course, it doesn't help that I know she'd have that same serene expression even if she were flaying me alive. Or that she can even eat me alive.
"Lady Rhea," I take a small bow. Better play it safe with her.
"Seteth has told me your story. A truly unusual and unfortunate experience," she turns her gaze to Alois, "I've also been told you and Catherine witnessed the way in which he arrived, Alois. May you describe it to me in more detail?"
"Well, there isn't much to tell," Alois' tone is surprisingly quiet for him, "It was Catherine who noticed it at first. Something was...I'm not sure how to describe it. At first it wasn't there, then it slowly started to become visible. When it was done, that something turned out to be him."
"Is that all?" Rhea asks, "No strange light? No...glyph?"
What are you getting at, lady?
"I see," she turns back to me, "It would appear whoever or whatever brought you to Fódlan, used a type of Warp magic unlike any used here. That is a troubling thought."
Alright, so what?
"It is most likely those responsible had a further goal in mind for you," yeah, having fun at my expense "But fear not. While you remain within these walls you'll be protected. Standing against the Church of Seiros is equal to standing against the Goddess and our world itself. A rather unpleasant position, wouldn't you agree?"
I gulp. This is probably her way of saying 'behave or else'.
She nods at me.
"One last thing. How many, besides those in this room and Catherine, know of your foreign origins?"
"Uh…" I have to scratch my head as I think about that "We passed many in de Monastery who have seen me wearing dis," I point at my hoodie, "De only one I actively told was de Gatekeeper. And anyone else who has heard me talk probably figured it out."
"Not necessarily. Your accent is not too different from that of a dialect spoken in villages to the south-east of the County of Gloucester,"
"As long as you remain here, your true origins will have to be kept hidden. As of now, you are no longer Eugenio from Italy. You are Eugenio from Varholm Village."
"Is dat one of dose villages of the County?" I tentatively ask.
"The Gatekeeper you were referring to is Sir Nebail Luford, if I'm correct in assuming?" Seteth asks.
"Yep, that's the one," Alois answers for me.
"I'll inform him of the situation and tell him to keep quiet. I trust you'll do the same with Catherine, Alois?"
"Good," Rhea comments, "Your work begins tomorrow, Eugenio. We'll have someone fetch you in the morning."
I bow once more, "Tank you, Lady Rhea. I'll do my best."
"I'm sure you will," she replies "After all, it would be unbecoming to turn your back to those who so kindly offered you aid when you needed it."
Geez, lady, I get it!
"I will take care of him now," Seteth says, "Alois, you're dismissed."
"Understood," he then turns to me "Once you're settled in, I'll catch up with you and give you a tour, alright?"
I have to nod at that. There's no way I'll remember the layout from the game perfectly.
"Great! It'll be fun to tour you around!"
...is that an actual way of saying or is he trying to be funny again?
"Get it? 'Tour' because...ah, never mind. See you later."
I almost feel bad about his disappointed face as he leaves. Almost.
"Now then," Seteth intervenes, "Please, follow me."
The 'dormitories' were in a different building than the offices of the Monastery's staff, so we had to walk some more. Meaning more people had the chance to see me walk around with stuff not native of their homeland.
I have a hard time believing Rhea will manage to convince anyone I'm from the Alliance after today.
One thing I can say Alois has over Seteth is the talkativeness. Granted, I'm not a great conversationalist myself, but the silence between the two of us feels really uncomfortable. Maybe it's a sign I was getting used to Alois' voice.
Or maybe it's the fact that it's just me and him and he may be taking me somewhere I can be disposed of without witnesses. That's also a possibility.
"Here we are."
We've stopped in front of one of the doors within the halls of this place. What's different from the others I have no idea, but Seteth seems to think something is.
"For as long as you remain, this will be your room."
I open the door and find a small room that I can only describe as 'basic'. The only things present are a bed, a table, a crate and a window from which light comes in.
It's not much but hey, I've seen places with far bigger problems.
"So…" I tell Seteth, "Is dat all?"
"Just one more thing. In order to convince everyone you're from Fódlan you'll need to wear something less…peculiar."
He's right, of course. What I currently have on me is a pair of jeans, a pair of shoes and, underneath my hoodie, a modern shirt.
Definitely not something you'd see in a medieval setting.
"Wait here," he says as picks up the crate, "I'll return with something."
He leaves and returns within a few minutes, with the crate filled with clothes.
"These will be your uniform," he pulls a key from one of his pockets and gives it to me "And this is the door to your room."
"No need to thank me. Just be careful not to lose it."
"Now, if you'll excuse me, I have other matters to attend to. Have a good day."
As soon as he gets out of the room, I close the door shut and have a proper look at my new garments.
The 'uniform' consists of a brownish tunic with matching pants and dark boots. No idea what they're made of, but the fabric seems heavier than one would expect.
Ok, now it's all a matter of changing into them. But first…
I search the pockets of my jeans and find them: my phone, my house keys, my wallet and my documents. All stuff that here, at best, will be useless and at worst will raise questions that will land me into trouble.
I place them to the bottom of the crate, under all the pieces of clothing. Where no one will find them.
Alright. Now I can change.
The process doesn't take long, but I quickly realize that my 'uniform' might be a bit looser than what I'm used to. Oh, well.
Now, Alois said he'd come for me. Guess I'll just sit on the bed and wait.
I wonder if he'll tell me some stuff about the Monastery the game glosses over. I certainly already know the stuff he doesn't. Like that the librarian is secretly a madman that will destroy a village just to piss Byleth off and will casually rip out the heart of one of his allies. Or that the fencing instructor is an unstoppable bloodthirsty murderer. Or that the girl he was looking for has been killed and replaced by people who have been plotting revenge against the Church for millenia.
Or that two of the students of next year will spearhead a full-scale continental war that will claim the lives of thousands.
I realize I've punched the mattress. I don't care.
Why me? What did I do to deserve this? I already had enough problems back home without the shitshow that is this game!
What was I even supposed to do here? Magically heal Edelgard and everyone else with 'the power of friendship'? Don't make me laugh, I'd only make things worse.
Only thing I can do now is pray I'm right about this world having some sort of interdimensional travel. Because if it doesn't, I…
Someone bangs at my door.
"Hey, Eugenio! It's me, Alois! Are you ready?"
Alois? Already? How long was I there?
No, it doesn't matter.
I take a deep breath.
"Yes, I'm coming Alois."
Keep those thoughts to yourself. Cool exterior. The only one you can rely on to see this through is yourself.
"In time's flow...see the glow of flames ever burning bright…"
This song has always helped calm me in dire times. The only thing left of Mother besides the Sword of the Creator.
"On the swift river's drift, broken memories alight…"
This Eugenio's words were lies. Of that I am certain.
Ever since the War of Heroes there has been no exodus large enough to create another civilization overseas. If this "Italy" existed beforehand and came in contact with Fódlan, I would have known.
The only ones that could have created such a place without my knowledge are the descendants of the Agarthans. And if that is the case, Eugenio must have been in Fódlan longer than he said and studied both the common language and the history passed down by the Church.
However, if he truly is part of those people, why create such a paper-thin cover story? Does he not know our true identities? Is he a distraction from something else? Or are my and Seteth's assumptions incorrect and we are dealing with something else entirely?
Unfortunately, the answers to those questions will only reveal themselves by keeping him close, no matter how little I like this.
The man is an anomaly. And when it comes to humans, anomalies are never a good thing.
So...I've returned. It is not one with one of the fics I started out with on this site, but I wanted to get back into writing and a group of people inspired me to do this. If anyone feels disappointed by this, I apologize.
With that said, welcome readers to Entrapped! A self-insert fic of Fire Emblem: Three Houses.
Not much to say beyond that. I hope you enjoyed (or at least tollerated) this first chapter.
Also, I would like to thank the people at the TreeHouse discord server for the help they provided. Special thanks go to Narwhal Lord, Lower (or LowerBlack as he goes by on this site) and 16th-Beat (aka Softandhappy on this site).
If you're interested, join us on the server! Code: 9XG3U7a. You can also find links to everyone's fics there.
Anyways, I'll see you all next time.