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So in several Fire Emblem games, we have certain staves that have the power to actually revive dead units. Or in Gaiden/Echoes, a certain spring water that can revive fallen units and what Mila did in Echoes. These staves are: Aum Staff Valkyrie Staff Bifröst Now, because of how players generally try NOT to have any units die, these staves are generally falling under the category of being "too awesome to use" and are always just locked into storage. Shame really. However, how does it work? Are there any limitations behind it? Or can it just revive anyone? Well, let's take a step back all the way to Genealogy of the Holy War, the Holy Grail of Fire Emblem itself. Our character Claud, the descendant of the Crusader Blaggi, attains the Holy Weapon, the Valkyrie Staff. He is accompanied by Tailtiu, and the two converse regarding the weapon: Keep in mind that the Valkyrie Staff was most definitely created by the power of a dragon. But even with that, the staff has limitations. This is also explained in regards to Mila in an Awakening DLC when we recruit Celica's Einherjar, and she explains that even Mila has limitations on whom she can revive. These limitations are restricted to the life force within us called "Aegir", which if you are not aware, is the Japanese term for "Quintessence", the major plotpoint of FE7. So even before FE7 came out, Kaga already put in the theory of quintessence into his work, but just never delved too deeply into it. FE7 also utilized it a lot, but didn't go too in depth about how it works. However, put it simply, to talk about how revival works, I will have to talk about quintessence as well. Quintessence is essentially the source of life, as without quintessence, we die. And when we die, the quintessence we have is released. No one is also born with the same amount of quintessence as someone else. It's all predetermined. Thus you will die in due course. Dragons though have a LOT of quintessence in them, which makes sense since literally no one seemed to have died of old age. Bantu is still implied to be alive and kicking in Awakening, and he was a wizened old man in the Archanea series and now with 2000 more years onto his age. Quintessence can also be used with magic, as by harnessing quintessence, you can extend your lifespan, heal from fatal injuries, and even create new life with it. Even in Fates, you can actually understand that someone has accidentally dabbled in quintessence, being Nyx. She used magic by mistake that resulted in the deaths of everyone in her village, but in exchange, she was cursed with an inability to grow older. This isn't a young body, but in fact an extremely high lifespan, born from absorbing everyone's quintessence in her village. She actually will age, but it will require a lot of time, but she doesn't understand this yet because she hasn't lived at the point when growth actually will happen. Anyways, so my theory is that I never actually thought of quintessence as the soul itself. But rather, quintessence is the energy that binds souls into the mortal plane. Souls normally should not exist in the mortal realm, but through the energy that is quintessence, the soul has a thread to bind it to it. So any living thing that has their quintessence run out, the soul no longer has a thread to the mortal realm and thus the soul leaves, causing the person to die. So generally when the soul leaves, the body will remain dead. This is very much explained in this one particular DLC chapter in New Mystery of the Emblem. A soul that has left the body is gone forever, meaning that the soul no longer exists in the mortal plane, cannot be revived even if a new body is brought into place. But Gharnef here can be revived because his soul never left the mortal place, but was sealed inside the Darksphere, and was released, but still somehow lingered, possibly due to the Imhullu tome. This actually explains a lot when you think about it. The morphs that we see in FE7 are just bodies created by quintessence, but had no true soul in them at first. It's possible that with time and such, a soul does form within it, or a soul is drawn to it. However, what does this have to do with the Staves, the Mila Springs, and Mila herself in revivals and quintessence? Sorry, I get off track at times. Anyways, the point is that those people with enough quintessence, even after death, their soul has not fully left the mortal place. It's possible that the remaining quintessence allowed the soul to keep itself in the mortal realm, though not enough to allow the body to survive. However, using the staves and power of the gods, it was able to draw on the power of quintessence, and restore the quintessence in the soul and restore the body back to its original form, allowing the quintessence to sustain the soul once more, and thus allowing life to be brought back. However, such a power is extremely great and something that cannot be used that well. This makes perfect sense as to why the Staves break after one use. Though the Valkyrie Staff can be repaired to use more times, it still seems there is a limit, as Kaga had in one of his note write this: So it's saying that eventually the Valkyrie Staff has a set number of uses before the power of the dragon's quintessence that resided in the dragonstone, and possibly the quintessence in Claud's own body, was consumed, thus preventing the use ever again. This theory on quintessence can also tie into why entities like Grima and Naga cannot die, the latter I mentioned here in this thread: And there you go. This is my theory on how revival in Fire Emblem works, and how quintessence functions. Let me know about your thoughts and ideas. I would love to hear about them, and get into any debates about things as well.
So I decided to replay Shadow Dragon, but this time do the Gaiden chapters, because I didn't do them in my first play through. But I can't stand having characters die so.... I did some... light hacking and... I did this! My overall opinion on this replay is, as someone who has always appreciated Shadow Dragon, I thought it was really fun and I sort of feel like this is the way the game was intended to be played. Not the 99 Aum Staff of course, but sending off your defenseless units as distractions so you can go ahead to the Gaiden chapters. It brought me back to the whole decoy thing and being told that you'll have to kill someone off to get head. I'm not saying this was a good intention or not, just stating how I feel. The only Gaiden chapter I didn't do was the Nagi one, because I did it last time and I wanted Gotoh this time. Plus Marth doesn't even recognize Nagi in New Mystery so... whatever. The only cheat codes I used was to turn the Aum Staff's uses to 99, and get myself some Elysian Whips. Just to clarify.