Disclaimer: I do not own Fire Emblem.
This was inspired by the Fire Emblem fic "Stories of the Past" by author "Rise Against713". I have ideas/material for a full story, but I have other projects on the go, so I decided to just write a small piece showcasing the Tactician's origins (in this case, a woman named Katherine).
This is set at the end of chapter 22 (or 22x, if you did the side chapter) of Eliwood mode, and will consist of 3-4 (give or take) short-ish chapters.
After their journey to the Nabata desert, the Archsage Athos had transported the lords and their companions to Castle Pherae, where they'd convinced Eliwood to accept his mother's hospitality for the night. The sun had gone down hours ago, but the tactician Katherine was still awake in her room. On the surface she seemed like a plain, unassuming woman in her thirties, mature, but not overly feminine. Despite possessing no great beauty, she'd be considered pretty enough amongst village women (pretty enough to attract Sain's attention, not that that was a great challenge). The woman in question had thrown her trademark green cloak onto the bed and was sitting at a table, absentmindedly playing with a lock of shoulder length brown hair as she read documents, reports and maps, both in preparation for their journey into Bern, and to distract herself from her thoughts.
With the arrival of Count Pent of house Reglay and his wife Louise into their company, she suspected it was only a matter of time until certain details about her past were exposed to the others, especially if he heard about the stunt she'd pulled off in Badon. Although it had ensured her victory in the arena, she doubted that claiming she'd merely "Pulled the right strings" would convince him as well as it did the others.
She found herself interrupted by the sound of someone knocking at the door. "Enter." The door opened to reveal the red headed Pheraen Marquess, whom she greeted with a polite nod. "Lord Eliwood."
"Hello Katherine," he returned the greeting with a pleasant smile. "I saw the light under the door and thought you might still be awake. I hope I'm not bothering you."
"Not at all. Please, come in." She gestured to an empty chair.
Eliwood obliged, closing the door behind him and pulling the chair out to sit down. "Thank you. And please, we've been together long enough that I'd like to think we're friends. You don't need to be so formal with me."
"My apologies… Eliwood. I'll try to dispense with the formalities in the future, at least in private. I suppose I'm not entirely used to noblemen of your unique character. So… what's keeping you up so late?"
"Thoughts about the next step of our journey. We're about to sneak into the most militaristic nation in Elibe, and yet I feel woefully unprepared. I don't know any more than what I've heard at the court. What about you, Katherine? Do you know Bern well?"
"Well enough," she replied casually. "I lived there for several years before meeting Lyn in Sacae, so I'm confident we'll be able to get in without causing a diplomatic incident. I've already identified the best entry points and worked out several possible scenarios, from posing as a merchant caravan, to sneaking past the border, or simply bribing any guards we might come across."
"Studious as ever, I see," he remarked, giving her a respectful nod. "I'm sure that with all your travels, you know more about this sort of thing than I do." Although he knew that behind her sharp green eyes lay one of the foremost military minds of their generation, having heard of her exploits with Lyn and seen her in action himself, Eliwood realized the woman herself was largely a mystery to him. So, spotting a wooden cabinet against the wall, he decided to take this opportunity to try and learn more about the enigmatic tactician. "You know… I think I have the perfect remedy for sleeplessness…" He then got up from his seat, walked over to the cabinet and grabbed a decanter as well as two glasses. "Here we are…" he declared, setting aside a map to make room on the table and pouring them both a drink.
Katherine accepted the glass he offered and held it to her nose, taking in the wine's aroma, then took a small sip and nodded appreciatively. "Excellent choice."
Eliwood smiled at her in return. "I'm glad you like it. By the way, Katherine, where were you born?" he asked, a look of curiosity on his face.
"Ah, so this is your plan," Katherine said, the ghost of a smirk appearing at the corner of her mouth. "Get me drunk so I'll spill all the details about my sordid past. How devious of you, milord."
"No, no, not at all," Eliwood quickly insisted. "I would never resort to such underhanded-"
Katherine held a hand up to interrupt. "Peace, Eliwood. That was a joke. I know you're far too honest and straightforward for something like that."
"Oh… right. I'm sorry. You just seem so… composed all the time, that I didn't expect this from you. Heh, now I feel silly."
As they sat there in silence, Katherine took a moment to mull over her thoughts. Even though she had reservations, she decided that it was better to talk about her past in a situation where she'd have more control over the outcome, rather than wait and risk the truth being dragged out against her will. "I've killed many people," she said bluntly, catching Eliwood's attention. "I've given orders that resulted in the deaths of many more. I've done things in my life that most people… would not understand. As I once told Lyn: 'War is my trade. War is my life.' So, I hope you can understand that my past is not something I often talk about."
"If it's difficult to speak about, you don't have to continue," Eliwood reassured her, giving her a sympathetic smile. "It's just that we've been travelling together for so long, and yet I really know almost nothing about you. I trust you, Katherine, you've earned it many times over. If you're not comfortable telling me, I'll understand, but I would like to learn more about you and your life."
"As you wish." Katherine stared absent minded at her wine glass for a moment. "I've only ever told the whole truth to three people before now. The woman who raised me, Canas, and my husband."
Eliwood blinked in surprise at this. "You're married?"
"Was married," she corrected him. "He died not long before I met Lyn." Katherine finished off her glass and grabbed the decanter to fill it up again. "But... perhaps I should start at the beginning, yes?" Eliwood nodded in confirmation and she began. "So…"