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An issue with FE8's plot; am I missing something?

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Up until the two branches merge, Eirika and Ephriam are incredulous about Lyon's involvement in the war. Why would he do this? Lyon loves peace! Is his father to blame? I hope Vigarde hasn't hurt his son! Why are we fighting Grado? etc. Yet after we learn about the secrets of the Dark Stone and Vigarde's resurrection, the game throws this flashback at us:

Ephraim:

“How do you intend to use the Sacred Stone, Lyon? Do you really think you can tap into its power?”

Lyon:
“Mm… My research isn’t complete yet, but there’s no mistaking the power the Sacred Stones contain. And the Stone of Grado seems especially responsive to my dark magic. I suppose it’s because it contains both sacred and demonic properties. Regardless, if I can just press my studies a little harder… Well, I think I might be able to use it to heal my father’s illness. If that works, there’s no telling how many other people I can help as well.”

Eirika:
“Do you think this is wise? The power contained within the stones is beyond our understanding… My father tells me that the stones possess a power not to be trifled with.”

Lyon:
“Uh-huh… Father MacGregor is also against it. That’s why they still won’t give me direct access to the Stone of Grado. For the time being, I’ve made do with the radiant energies surrounding it. They’re nothing compared to the raw power of the stone itself, but… If I can show Father MacGregor some real progress, perhaps one day…”

Ephraim:
“Using the Sacred Stones to study magic…”

Lyon:
“Ephraim, Eirika, what do you two think? Using the divine power of the Sacred Stones in this way… You don’t think it’s a very good idea, do you?”

Ephraim:
“…It’s just that I know nothing at all of magic. I would that there were some way I could help you, but I simply can’t. But, Lyon, I’ve seen how hard you’ve worked to help others. I know how much you want the power to make others happy. I know these things, and because I know you, I trust your intentions.”

Lyon:
“Ephraim…”

Ephraim:
“If you hope to use the power of the Sacred Stone for good, I trust you can. I’m behind you all the way.”

Eirika:
“I agree with Ephraim entirely. You spend every night in the library, studying cures for your father’s illness. The power of the Sacred Stones is too powerful to be used for personal gain. But you, Lyon… I think you’ll be fine. You’re the kindest person I know.”

Lyon:
“Thanks, both of you. Hearing those words from you means a lot to me. Actually–and this hasn’t been made public yet–but… I’ve already saved someone using the knowledge I’ve gleaned so far.”

Ephraim:
“You have?”

Lyon:
“Uh-huh… A while back, a fire ravaged Serafew, and a little girl got trapped in the flames. Her burns were terrible:”
not even healing staves were able to cure her injuries. But just a sliver of the stone’s power restored her life and healed her wounds. We saved that girl’s life, Ephraim! Oh, if you could have seen the tears of joy in her mother’s eyes!

Ephraim:
“You really did it, huh? You are special, Lyon. Congratulations!”

Lyon:
“Well… thanks. But there’s still so much more to be done. I am happy, though. To be honest, I just want to be able to help people. I want to put the ancient magics to use for the common good… That’s how I feel.”

Eirika:
“Lyon…”

Lyon:
“And as my research moves forward, I’ll be able to do much more, too. We have only the barest understanding of how dark magic operates. Maybe we can use it not only to heal wounds, but also to stop diseases… What if we can read the future, predict disasters, move mountains!?”

Eirika:
“Hold on, Lyon. You can’t take too much on yourself all at once. What good is helping people if you sacrifice yourself to do it?”

Lyon:
“Oh… Yes, of course. Sorry. I got carried away.”

Ephraim:
“You have a soft heart, Lyon. I bet you haven’t taken any real time off at all. So this is what we’re going to do. Today, we’re going into the city. And you’re going with us, Lyon.”

Lyon:
“What? But, Ephraim, you’ve got a history report due.”

Ephraim:
“We’re taking today off. C’mon, let’s go.”

Lyon:
“Bu-but, Ephraim…”

Eirika:
“It’s just one day, and I won’t tell anyone. Won’t it be fun for the three of us to spend a day in the city?”

Lyon:
“Ephraim, Eirika… Thanks so much. I’m lucky to have the two of you as friends.”

To recap: just a couple of years prior to Grado's invasion of Renais, Lyon shared with Ephraim and Eirika that he was conducting experiments on a demonic talisman, a demonic talisman that housed the soul of humanity's greatest enemy and threat. The most respected bishop in Magvel opposes this research, and both Eirika and Ephraim voice concerns about Lyon's health and the forbidden magic he's studying. Add to this that both lords know the ancient stories about the Demon King.

So are we really expected to believe Ephraim and Eirika couldn't piece two and two together? That they couldn't connect Dot A (research on the Demon King's soul) to Dot B (Grado aiming to destroy the Sacred Stones, which is exactly what the Demon King wants)? That strikes me as exceptionally weak writing.

I'm wondering if there's something in the script I've missed (or support conversations, or villages, etc.) that resolves this tension.

Edited by feplus

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Perhaps they knew but were just in denial that their friend had become possessed. It isn't that they didn't know. They just didn't want to believe it. That's my opinion though.

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Perhaps they knew but were just in denial

I don't see anything in the script that supports this. Ephraim and Eirika obviously didn't want Lyon to be involved, but they acted genuinely confused about the circumstances surrounding Grado's invasion and never, not once, brought up Lyon tampering with the devil himself as a possible explanation.

Edited by feplus

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I don't see anything in the script that supports this. Ephraim and Eirika obviously didn't want Lyon to be involved, but they acted genuinely confused about the circumstances surrounding Grado's invasion and never, not once, brought up Lyon tampering with the devil himself as a possible explanation.

you clearly underestimating the effect of human psychology on denialism, and overestimate the probability (in Ephraim and Eirika's minds that's it) about the invasion is actually masterminded by Demon King instead of Vingrade getting itchy at conquering something (which actually not quite far from what happened in Ancient-to-pre-Victorian Period anyway : War of Conquest is a big thing, only condemned and made Illegal after 1918 by LON)

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IIRC, Eirika and Ephraim didn't know about the Demon Kings involvement until Knoll. They thought Grado simply wanted to conquer the world, but for unknown reasons. They wouldn't predict that the flashback is important. Especially not at the time of the flashback.

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In addition, it's stated a few time Ephraim at the very least doesn't really pay attention to stuff like this (Lyon nags him about it in a couple scenes). The same can't really be said for Eirika, who likely just trusts that Lyon will do good things with the power from the stone

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Even if Eirika trusted Lyon, surely the stone would have been brought up as a possible impetus for the invasion. I doubt seriously the twins would be quick to forget that Lyon was effectively dealing with the devil -- that's hardly a casual conversation.

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Would they have known that the Demon King could outright possess someone through the stone, though? The viewer knows what's going on because we get to see it happen, but nobody in Magvel would have any way of knowing what kind of power the stone has, or even that Lyon would go as far as to unseal the DK to resurrect someone who only a handful of people know is dead.

Edited by algae

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Would they have known that the Demon King could outright possess someone through the stone, though? The viewer knows what's going on because we get to see it happen, but nobody in Magvel would have any way of knowing what kind of power the stone has, or even that Lyon would go as far as to unseal the DK to resurrect someone who only a handful of people know is dead.

I imagine the details weren't known, but surely "I'm conducting experiments on the soul of the devil" would have raised some red flags and stuck in the back of their minds.

Edited by feplus

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I imagine the details weren't known, but surely "I'm conducting experiments on the soul of the devil" would have raised some red flags and stuck in the back of their minds.

Didn't the flashback take place five years before the events of the game? Even if it were something like "I'm conducting experiments on the soul of the devil" I would have forgotten after five years. Five years is longer than it seems.

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Didn't the flashback take place five years before the events of the game? Even if it were something like "I'm conducting experiments on the soul of the devil" I would have forgotten after five years. Five years is longer than it seems.

Two years. Consider that both lords recalled a day on the town with Lyon from a year and a half prior.

Edited by feplus

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Would they have known that the Demon King could outright possess someone through the stone, though?

L'Arachel mentions saint Latona being possessed by the Demon King and freeing himself. (Though, the Demon King wasn't in a stone at that time, I think?)

EDIT: wait, this is near the endgame, so yeah, they didn't hear about that until after they figured it out.

Edited by L95

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Probably. Ephraim is shown to be incredibly thick and only ever focused on fighting, while Eirika is naïve to the point of.........................something. I forgot the word I was going to use.

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Probably. Ephraim is shown to be incredibly thick and only ever focused on fighting, while Eirika is naïve to the point of.........................something. I forgot the word I was going to use.

Naive to the point of giving the Demon King a Sacred Stone because he asked nicely?

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I imagine the details weren't known, but surely "I'm conducting experiments on the soul of the devil" would have raised some red flags and stuck in the back of their minds.

he never said that he was conducting experiments on the demon kings soul he was experimenting on the sacred stone he just mentioned that the demon kings soul was in it and that was the reason why it reacted to dark magic.

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That supports my point.

"Hey gang! Yeah, I'm conducting experiments on our nation's holy artifact. You know the one, it contains the soul of the literal devil? Right. Mhm, the top religious authority in the land strongly opposes my experiments, but really, what could go wrong?"

-two years pass, Grado inexplicably invades Renais, Lyon is acting funny-

"Wow, what could have caused this?!"

It's dreadful storytelling.

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-two years pass, Grado inexplicably invades Renais, Lyon is acting funny-

Lyon wasn't acting funny until some time after the invasion of Renais, as far as anyone could see. Of course, nobody saw hide or hair of him until Ephraim took over Grado Keep, but as far as anyone knew, that was Vigarde's fault.

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*facepalm*

Hindsight, and the guy playing the game is 20/20. Yes, it's obvious from a player perspective, but not for Eirika, or Ephraim.

Eirika is way too naive, and Ephraim is too violence-oriented to consider "demon possessions.

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Lyon wasn't acting funny until some time after the invasion of Renais, as far as anyone could see. Of course, nobody saw hide or hair of him until Ephraim took over Grado Keep, but as far as anyone knew, that was Vigarde's fault.

Right. At the end of Sacred Stones' first arc, the twins believe Lyon is caught up in Vigarde's politics:

Eirika:

“What do you suppose Lyon is doing now? When Emperor Vigarde ordered the invasion… How do you think Lyon felt?”

Ephraim:

“He’s always been so gentle, but he worships his father. He’d never question him. But the emperor… He’s clearly not behaving rationally. I just hope he’s not so far gone that he’d hurt his own flesh and blood.”

Eventually, each of the twins runs into Lyon. First Eirika...

Eirika:

“Wait, Lyon! Don’t run away! My brother and I have been so worried about you… We know more then anyone the gentleness of your spirit. Your father is deranged, isn’t he? That’s why Grado invaded Renais, right? Tell me, Lyon… Please… Tell me what has happened.”

Lyon:

“I’m sorry, Eirika. I’ve wanted to see you and Ephraim for so long now… I wanted to see you so that I could apologize. The invasion of Renais… I couldn’t stop it. I’m sorry, but I still cannot talk to you. Not yet…”

Eirika:

“You… You have a reason, don’t you?”

Lyon:

“Mm… I can’t talk about it now, but… I promise I will tell you everything someday.”

Eirika:

“I see… I believe you, Lyon. I must tell you, I’m a little relieved. I was afraid you’d changed as much as your poor father has. I’m so glad.”

Lyon:

“Me, too, Eirika… No, you have changed. You’re even more beautiful than you were before.”

Eirika:

“L-Lyon…”

Lyon:

“I’m sorry, I have to go. But please remember this. This war started because I was too weak to stop it, but… I’ll always be your friend.”

Eirika:

“Lyon…”

...and then Ephraim:

Ephraim:

“Lyon! Is that you? Lyon, you must tell me! What has happened here in Grado?”

Evil Lyon:

“……”

Ephraim:

“Why are you in this place? Your father… Emperor Vigarde, why didn’t you stop him? Don’t tell me you’re caught up in this madness, too! Answer me, Lyon! You always told me you wanted what your father wanted–peace!”

Evil Lyon:

“I… I…I… Urgh! Let me tell you something, Ephraim. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a very, very long time.”

Ephraim:

“…”

Evil Lyon:

“I will make the world Grado’s– No, MY plaything. I’ve been planning this my whole life. Why else would I befriend you and Eirika? I needed to learn where and how to attack and destroy Renais… Thanks to the two of you, I learned all I needed to know. While you feigned compassion for my weakness and scorned me in your hearts.”

Ephraim:

“What?! Lyon… You’re wrong. We never–“

Evil Lyon:

“And then my chance arrived. I replaced my useless father, readied my tools, and set my plan in motion. I began by destroying Renais… And then I murdered your father.”

Ephraim:

“You… You lie, Lyon! You could never–“

Evil Lyon:

“Shall I tell you a story? Would you like to hear of your father’s last moments? You’ll laugh really. Your father’s such a weakling, and yet he tried so hard…”

Ephraim:

“Lyon! No more insults to my father, or I may forget myself!”

Evil Lyon:

“Oh, are you angry, Ephraim? But, not even you can stop me now. The Stones of Grado and Frelia are dust, and Jehanna’s is soon to follow… …Which leaves only two more… I will destroy them one at a time… I shall see my dream fulfilled…”

Ephraim:

“What?!”

Evil Lyon:

“Ephraim, you are in my way. Therefore… Ergh… …How bothersome. I truly do wish to be your opponent, but I’m not yet at full strength. Let’s meet again, shall we? Assuming you live, of course. I’ll grant you the honor of dying at my hand. Like father, like son, eh?”

Then the paths merge, and Ephraim shares with Eirika what he's learned:

Ephraim:

“Eirika, I also met Lyon.”

Eirika:

“Did you really?”

Ephraim:

“Yes. But, he was like a completely different person. To be honest, he didn’t seem to be completely…human.”

Eirika:

“Ephraim… What are you saying?”

Ephraim:

“I’ll tell you what I saw. I found Lyon inside Grado Keep. This is what he told me: He said he was behind this war. He said he’d befriended us solely so that, one day, he could invade Renais… He told me he killed our father.”

Eirika:

“That… That can’t…”

Ephraim:

“I know. I can’t believe it either. I refuse to believe it. How could he have planned all this since he was a child… I simply can’t fathom it. I’ve heard Lyon changed when he acquired the Dark Stone. I’ve no interest in magic, but… There was something uncanny about him. It seemed almost as though he were being controlled by something himself.”

Both twins were confused about why Grado would invade Renais, then they were confused about why Grado would go after the Sacred Stones, and then they were concerned about their friend Lyon. Up until Lyon flat-out tells Ephraim that he is now the Demon King, no one suspects him, despite the fact that Lyon went into great detail about experimenting on the soul of the devil, experiments condemned by the highest religious authority in Grado.

To recap: Lyon tells the twins that he's conducting experiments on the soul of the devil. Lyon has not spoken to the twins in over a year. Grado suddenly invades Renais. Grado starts destroying the Sacred Stones, bane of the devil. Grado makes a conscious effort to acquire the twins' bracelets, which the devil would want. Yet the twins never bring up Lyon's unholy experiments. There are just two possibilities here:

1. The twins are idiots.

2. Contrivance.

The twins obviously aren't stupid people. I think it's obvious the writers threw in that flashback scene without considering its ramifications. Which is, as I said before, sloppy writing.

*facepalm*

Hindsight, and the guy playing the game is 20/20. Yes, it's obvious from a player perspective, but not for Eirika, or Ephraim.

Eirika is way too naive, and Ephraim is too violence-oriented to consider "demon possessions.

I want you to really stop and think about this.

Growing up, you and your neighbor are best friends. A couple years back, you learn that your friend is conducting Satanic experiments- in the name of goodness, of course!- to save lives and see into the future. Your friend has already used the power of Satan to cure one woman of an illness. Your community's priest rigidly opposes these experiments as unholy and dangerous. Questions:

1. Would you forget about this exchange? Would the fact that your friend is performing Satanic rituals not surprise you?

2. If your neighbors suddenly broke into your house, killed your parents, and began destroying all the religious artifacts in your community, would you consider the possibility that maybe the demonic rituals have something to do with it? Or would you suspect your best friend was totally innocent and that this was all his father's doing?

Be honest.

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1: No, it would not, because it is in the name of good. It is working too, so I see no reason to ask him to stop.

2: This is when I would be suspicious. I agree with you that Ephraim should maybe have suspected something, but before that they had no reason to be so.

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Eventually, each of the twins runs into Lyon. First Eirika...

...and then Ephraim:

I thought chapter 14 of Ephraim's path took place before chapter 14 of Eirika's path, since chapter 15 took place immediately after chapter 14 of Eirika's path. For Ephraim to have marched to Jehanna Hall from Grado Keep at the same time, he must have taken over Grado Keep before Eirika took over Jehanna Hall.

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@momogeek: The first question was about whether you'd remember the Satanic rituals, not whether you'd ask your friend to stop them. The twins had reason to be suspicious of Lyon once Grado suddenly invaded, and those suspicious should have been all but confirmed once the target of Lyon- the Sacred Stones- became clear.

@Paperblade: I didn't mean to imply a strict chronological order there. Just making explicit that Lyon talks to the twins independently late into the game.

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You are not missing much of anything, the main reason for this is because Eirika and Ephraim are naive.The story is about them having to grow up, because they have been sheltered all their life. They basically couldn't accept truth because they were too idealistic... It is sad, and because of their immaturity, people died. It is an important story, but very- well, tragic.

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Does the expression "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions" exist in Magvel? As far as I know, nobody in the history of Magvel had done such evil deeds for such high-minded reasons.

If there was no precedent for Lyon's descent into madness, then Ephraim's ignorance and Eirika's naivete may be forgiven.

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