A Suggested Change to Masked Marth's Origin Story

Note 1:
This was originally part of a draft I was writing about a full team of Lucina alts, and possible stories that FEH could tell about it.
I stopped when I realized that draft was outgrowing both my analytical skills and my writing ability, and settled on posting this instead.

Note 2:
I don’t expect that this idea will ever make it into FEH.
I am not a writer, and I don’t work for Intelligent Studios.
Hopefully, this post will explain why I still like this idea and think it’s worth preserving.

Spoilers for Fire Emblem: Awakening ahead!

Introduction

Canonically, Masked Marth appears in FEH when summoned by the player.
This begs the question - what point in her timeline was she summoned from?

Dialogue in the Summoner’s Castle and from her to 5* + Lvl 40 event implies that this version comes from the first half of Awakening’s story - before her identity is revealed, and before she helps save an alternate Ylisse from the Fell Dragon Grima.

Masked Marth:
“Tell me again—this is not Ylisse? Did Naga make a mistake? Ah, no! Forget I said anything.”

Masked Marth:
“The day will come when I have to leave, [Summoner].”
“I must return to the land so dear to me—the one where we all swore to meet again…”
“The one where we promised we would change our fates. When the time comes, I hope I can explain.”

This…doesn’t sit right with me, for a few reasons:

  • Masked Marth traveled back in time to save her kingdom from destruction.
    But in FEH, she willingly spends a long time in a different world, fighting for a different kingdom, and not making any progress towards her original goal.
  • By keeping her in their barracks, the player is keeping Masked Marth in Askr, and preventing her from saving her homeland.
  • In game, the player can put Masked Marth on the same team as Grima, the dragon who slaughtered her parents and burned her kingdom to the ground.
    This disconnect isn’t unique to her (the same can be done with Gangrel and Chrom), but it’s also never commented on or explored.
What Would I Change?

Instead, I would change Masked Marth’s backstory to that of a neutral-ending Lucina.
If she isn’t married by the end of Awakening, she leaves from the timeline she helped save:

Lucina disappeared after whispering these words to her infant self:
“Yours will be a happy future.”
Did she journey to another land or back to her own time?
…No one knows for certain.

If Masked Marth has already saved her version of Ylisse, then her stay in Askr makes more sense.
Now she’s not ignoring a threat to her home - her version of Grima is already dead (or sealed away).
Additionally, the player isn’t keeping her in Askr - she’s volunteering, and staying of her own free will.

This change also provides opportunities to explore why Lucina leaves.
Her A-support with Chrom in Awakening provides some hints that FEH can build on (italics mine):

Chrom:
“It’s something I’d been meaning to ask for some time now.
Once this war is over, will you be able to return to your own world?”
Lucina:
“…I don’t know.
Even if it were possible to cross the bounds of time again, my world itself may be lost.
Naga said as much before we left.”
Chrom:
“I see.”
Lucina:
“But don’t worry, Father. Once peace is returned, I’ll leave you to your life.”
Chrom:
“What? Why?”
Lucina:
“I understand I don’t belong in this time. I’ll not have myself become a burden.

To his credit, Chrom immediately refutes this:

Chrom:
“Lucina… I am so very grateful for you.
Grateful that you were born…
That you grew into such a fine and noble woman…
Grateful you withstood terrible hardship and risked all you knew to come here…
I haven’t the words to express how much it all means to me.
None, save “thank you.””
Lucina:
“Father…”
Chrom:
“You’re my daughter and my friend. You will always have a place at my side.”

But tellingly, even after this conversation, Lucina still leaves.
Chrom loves Lucina, but he’s not her real father - her real parents and all of her people died in the timeline that she left behind.

I’ve said it in another thread, but it bears repeating here:
She’s a hero and she has her parents’ love, but she feels so out of place that she can’t bring herself to stay.

What Does This Do For the Game?

In a word: context.

FEH is based on on two important premises:

  • Every Fire Emblem game is connected in one massive multiverse
  • Any character from any of these alternate universes can and will be summoned to Askr

While it’s easy enough to accept that Askr exists, the game’s logic starts to fall apart when you ask why people come to it.
I touched on this earlier, because Masked Marth isn’t the only character with this issue.
Most Fire Emblem characters are active participants in their own armed conflicts.
Appearing in Askr requires that they willingly take a break from their wars to spend an indefinite amount of time risking their lives for people they’ve never met.

Making the change I suggested for Masked Marth is just one way to explain what kind of person would be willing to fight for Askr, and why those people would be willing to leave their homes behind.

Does FEH need backstories like these to be fun and make lots of money?
No, clearly not.
But its characters do, so that players can better understand and connect with them.

I don’t just like Lucina because she’s a fast, hard-hitting sword unit.
I like her because she’s an awkward dork who still tries very hard to be heroic.
I like her because she travels through time and risks her life to try and save others from the dragon that destroyed her home.

I like her because I understand the feeling of not knowing where you belong, and worrying that you might be more of an inconvenience than a valuable human being.
And as sad as it is to think that these feelings would drive Lucina away from the people she helped save, it’s a logical progression for a character I’ve come to know and love.

And if I can find myself so consumed by a minor change to Lucina’s story in FEH, maybe other players can too.
And then maybe they’ll like Lucina as much as I do, or at least understand why I feel the way I do.

Closing Thoughts

If you took valuable time out of your day to read all of this - um, wow.
Thank you.

I don’t know what I was expecting to accomplish by writing this.
But I felt like if I didn’t write my thoughts down now, I might forget them later.

I played Awakening in 2016, and I don’t know if I’ll ever play it again.
But even now, some part of me still doesn’t want to let go.

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There are no ways to fix the literally infinite logical fallacies that are instantly introduced the moment you write time travel and/or alternate universe shenanigans into the story.

Kudos for trying, but these themes are always bad storytelling.

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The fallen Edel/Dimitri FB did address this, and it seems that heroes may have little choice in staying and helping.

Edel tries to leave in the FB, only to be stopped and ultimately stays behind.

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This is a very good breakdown and I don’t want to detract from that but I think the solution here (or at least part of it) was already brought up in a Forging Bonds conversation a while back.

Regarding Annand being summoned at the moment of her death and what that would imply for the inevitable return home, there’s this exchange between Erinys and Alfonse (cut one panel of dialogue for simplicity):


It’s implied that the heroes will return home at the exact moment they were summoned from. While I agree it’s still questionable why characters like Lucina and such are so content just waiting around and spending their time fighting for a cause other than their own, at least they aren’t actually losing anything from their own timelines.

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…I’m starting to suspect I don’t know as much about this game as I probably should before writing about it.

The real embarrassing part is that this FB wasn’t that long ago.
I remember playing it, but I didn’t remember this conversation while I was writing the post.

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Isekai title be like:

I was a fallen hero in another when I tried to save my nation but failed and I got summoned into another world with loads of other heroes from other dimensions including different versions of myself so I stayed and trained as hard as I can so that I may return to my world and save it. Season 2!

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Nah don’t worry about! It would be ridiculous to expect anyone to remember all of the random dialogue and stuff in this game. That’s what discussions are for! And especially with something like this, which seems pretty significant to the lore of FEH, it’s only mentioned like, once, and not even in the main storyline (I think? Who knows).

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