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The Shadow Tactician: To Challenge Fate

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Chapter I: Arrival in the Past

We all know the basic story. Prince Chrom found the ex-Tactician of Plegia Lady Robin who was doing her best in fleeing from the Grimleal who at that point in time were beginning to prepare for the rise of Grima, the Fell Dragon although the reasons are not clear as to why she suddenly made to leave her home country and turn her back on the cult that she had significant ties to. What was clear was that she carried warning of a war that the Ylisseans were ill prepared for. However not everyone believed her and it took the death of the exalt to make them see her words were true. Even then some had believed the woman a spy until Prince Chrom revealed that she had been the one to save his life...she was the one that was behind the dramatic rescue of the Duke of Themis' daughter Maribelle and other tactical victories for Ylisse that they would not have had if Robin had not helped them. The fact that she had essentially been branded a traitor by King Gangrel on the battle field was enough to convince the council of her intentions. Although why in the same token she had chosen to turn her back on her people remained a mystery. However the assistance that she gave Prince Chrom and House Ylisse was more than enough in the eyes of some.


When she gave birth to a small boy it had been quite a shock, as no one had known that she was carrying, let alone that she was with child as she some how was able to keep it from everyone. Even so she still continued to be an asset to House Ylisse to the best of her abilities. She named the tiny boy Caleb and made quite certain that he was trained to be her successor clearly.


Everyone wondered why she insisted on training the boy in battle tactics and strategy. Most people didn't know about what Robin was actually planning, she knew that Grima needed a vessel in order to enter the physical world; it would be up to Caleb to complete the task she had undertaken should the worst come to pass and she was killed. She hadn't said it to him directly; rather she had been avoiding it as much as possible as she didn't want to face the reality of what was to come. She would not be able to stop the Grimleal...only her son could, he had the heart of Grima; the mark on his right hand was proof of that. He was what the Grimleal had been praying for and Robin didn't want that for her son. She wanted him to live in a world that was not tainted by the Grimleal's ideals, she wanted to give him a future of his own choosing; to see the world with an open mind and free soul. Robin knew however that it wasn't that easy. She'd gone to Libra, a priest of Naga in desperation to save the boy. Libra had been shocked by what Robin was asking of him, but he realised that Robin was being serious.


Even with the help of Naga the curse of Grima remained. She'd never told Caleb of course. She didn't want him to have that burden to bare. However Robin felt it was best to take the fight to the boy's absolute nut case of a father. Validar's name sent chills down Robin's spine even though it had been almost fifteen years since they'd seen one another. Robin's plan was to end the man's life in the hopes that it would stop the Grimleal from trying to resurrect Grima. Even so, the fact of the matter was that despite everything that the young woman had done it was all undone the moment the Fell Dragon awakened.


She had been blind-sided by the fact that the Grimleal already had a vessel and that vessel had been waiting for them to come. She and Prince Chrom were both killed, and in that moment the young Caleb experienced a head ache like no other. He had known that his mother had been killed, although how he knew was a different matter all together.


No one believed him and it wasn't until Lady Maribelle struggled back to the palace with the Falchion injured to the point that healers knew she wouldn't be able to live much longer that they realised the boy might have actually known what happened. It was only as Maribelle told them the horrific news that the people looked at Caleb with a sense of pity. Ylisse's Grandmaster was dead as well as the Exalt. Both were killed by a hooded figure who Maribelle had never seen before and she had not been able to see the face of her husband's killer. It was shocking enough to see the figure kill Chrom without so much as flinching, but the death that was reserved for Robin was truly horrific. The woman wasn't just killed according to Maribelle; she was slaughtered, body ripped apart limb from limb while she was still alive and screaming...


Caleb yawned as he struggled to get warm in the cold night air. The fact that he was awake even though it was cold was a miracle as he'd expected to have frozen to death by now, especially since there was nothing left to burn, save for some tomes, but those were needed in combat. It helped though that there was a young blue haired woman resting against his side in an effort to keep herself warm as well. Caleb had put the coat that his mother had given him years ago over her lithe frame in the hope that it would shield her from the bitterly cold wind that was cutting though their camp. Grima was to blame for everything that had happened. If not for that damnable dragon Caleb would have been able to have his mother and hear the wisdom her kindness provided. He wouldn't have felt so afraid with her voice to guide him. He looked over his sleeping companion. She'd been through so much that it didn't surprise him that she had nightmares, as he often had nightmares himself especially after what had happened when Grima came to destroy Ylisstol, both of them running for their very lives while Lissa bought them the time they all needed to escape. Even now Lissa's death troubled the young man. To see her be burnt like that...it upset him greatly. He frowned as he looked at his sleeping companion. She wasn't just his companion, she was Caleb's closest friend and it pained him to see her sleeping so uneasily and knowing that there was little that he could do to change the situation for her. He could see the pain on her face as the nightmares haunted her and it hurt. He didn't move but knew that it was almost time to change the watch. The young man sighed as he looked over the darkness slowly greying to a dull half-light that had been their entire world ever since Grima had been awakened. Sprawled beyond him were the others of their travelling group, shielded by Minerva, Gerome's wyvern. Caleb could see that Gerome was starting to stir, and knew that it would be a matter of time before the rest of the group stirred. His companion seemed to sense that it was time to wake as he felt her move.


The journey that they had to make was far from an easy one. As the children had all but one of the gemstones needed to perform the awakening of Naga, they were told by the divine dragon that they couldn't stop Grima in their world. She told them that their only hope was to go back in time to prevent the Fell Dragon awakening. It was decided that they would have to avoid their parents entirely as they didn't want to force their parents to get together for their sakes; Caleb felt it wasn't the right thing to do as he was certain that they would easily become compromised unless they told the truth to Chrom and the elder shepherds of the past. They seemed to know though that things would change for better or worse once they crossed that line of time. Caleb followed Lucina as closely as possible, having heard Naga tell them that they could very well end up as much as twenty or more years ahead of Grima's awakening. Caleb was running as everyone tried to get ahead of Grima's risen that were following them. Caleb even managed to create a barrier that didn't last as long as he'd hoped. All the same they had to run...they had to get moving...


The world that Caleb stepped into was a far cry from the world that he'd left. True there was fire, but this seemed to be rather pale compared to the destructive fire that Grima had made. It was more or less a fire that Caleb was scared of yes, but not terrified by. Close before him was Lucina and he raced to get towards his friend, “Marth!” He cried running forwards as “Marth” was holding back the axe from a risen that was threatening a very familiar figure. Caleb let out a loud battle cry and ran forwards, “Thoron!” the risen turned to see what had made that noise and as it did so it was hit by a blast of powerful magic. Caleb hastened forward and panted, “Lord Marth are you alright?!”

Lucina looked at him briefly before realising that Caleb was using their code name for her. She responded with as masculine a voice as she could muster,

“I am fine thanks to you Kris.”

“I'm just relieved that I made it in time.” Caleb replied then he turn his attention to the figure whom Lucina had been protecting, “Are you alright, Milady?” he asked gently,

“Uh...yeah...I'm fine...” the youthful cleric responded shakily,

“That was quite an entrance.” Caleb turned to the sound of a voice that he missed so much that he almost felt like crying. The man that walked towards them was the man whom Caleb respected the most out of all the male shepherds; Chrom. Even though Caleb was a young man now Chrom still held the height advantage. A rueful grin hit Caleb's face, he sure was glad to see Chrom.


Chrom looked at the two strangers that had saved his sister, Lissa. One wore blue clothing akin to what the Hero King Marth would have worn, the other had his face hidden by what was clearly a Plegian coat. The man under the coat seemed to be smiling at them then that smile faded, “Lord Marth,” He said turning to his companion, “There are more of them in the forest, what should we do?”

The masked man appeared to frown in response, “Do you have a strategy Kris?” The masked man's voice sounded a lot higher than the hooded one's did. Perhaps the one with the mask was the younger of the pair, of course in that moment there was a thunder of hooves as two figures raced to join them,

“Frederick! Robin!” Lissa cried suddenly and Chrom realised that he needed to talk to his new tactician, right away.


Caleb watched as his mother took in the risen that had appeared, “Chrom, Frederick I want the pair of you to stay up front,” She said rapidly assessing the situation, “Lissa I need you to stay with Chrom to heal any injuries he might get...” Robin turned then to look at Caleb and he got the feeling that she was trying to assess him. He however felt Lucina grip his arm,

“We'll take care of the creatures to the north,” Caleb spoke, “We'll leave this group to you.”

Robin blinked taken aback by the young man's voice, “Very well.” was all she said before the pair raced off to the north.


Caleb and Lucina easily cleared out the risen in the north. Caleb worked well with Lucina and the pair quickly over powered the beasts. They arrived to see if Robin's group needed any help and Lucina made no move to speak. Caleb looked at them and felt a pang in his chest. Here was his mother...but not his mother in the same token. She was younger for a start, her hair was a short bob with her fringe resting over her left eye that she'd lost escaping from Validar the first time, the coat that she wore didn't have as much wear, she seemed less experienced...Caleb halted his thoughts when he looked at her remaining eye. She was frowning at them, and Caleb recognised that particular expression. She was trying to read them,

“It seems that we have vanquished the last of the creatures.” Frederick spoke waking Caleb out of his revere,

“We have finished with them as well.” Caleb said, looking towards Lucina for guidance, she gave a brief nod,

“Then it seems that we have slain them all.” The knight said,

“Um, I never got to thank you two...for before...” Lissa hesitated slightly, still shaken from what had transpired, Caleb felt a stab of sympathy for her but did his best to keep his face straight, “So...thank you, you were both very brave.” Caleb saw Lucina's mouth twitch and he knew that she was relieved that her aunt was fine,

“I want to thank you both for saving my sister's life, I'm Chrom. Might I ask what your names are?” Chrom asked,

“You may call me Marth and my companion here Kris.” Lucina responded speaking for the first time,

“Marth?” Chrom said looking at Lucina then to Caleb with a slightly confused expression crossing his face, “After the heroic king of old? You both certainly fought well, where did you learn to fight like that?”

“I'm not here to talk about us,” Lucina said sternly, “This world is teetering on the brink of a horrific calamity. What you saw tonight was just a prelude, you have been warned...” Lucina turned to leave and Caleb hastened to follow her. They didn't speak for a good hour as they had a lot of ground to cover,

“Lucy,” Caleb said softly, “Where to next?” He asked,

“We need to find the others,” She said suddenly, “Do you think that they made it Caleb?”

“I'm sure that they did,” He said calmly, “And we'll just have to do what we can in the meantime.”

“Right,” She sighed, “To Regna Ferox to save the champion Lon'qu.”

Caleb nodded and spoke, “We'll need some supplies, but that shouldn't be too much of a challenge.”

Lucina nodded, “Alright then let's go!”

And Caleb held onto the hope that they would actually make the future change. He would have to make sure that he did his best to assist Lucina in her task. He had to.

Edited by TheSilentChloey
Updating chapter with suggestions

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Chapter II: Regna Ferox

Caleb sighed as the first of the sun's rays began to change the world much more than he'd seen in a long time. They actually glowed orange instead of the purplish blue that he was used to seeing all of the time. He winced as the light grew ever stronger as his eyes had been adjusted to nothing but almost imperceptible light that had been all they had. Caleb found himself marvelling at the beauty that he'd not realised he missed in a very long time. He frowned as he looked at himself. He was going to need to bathe.


Luckily for the young man there was a river not far from where they were camping where he could have a wash without being spotted by Lucina (after all she didn't need to see him in any state of undress) so he carefully looked around himself to make sure that all was well before taking off his coat. The reflection in the water showed a young rather tired looking man, his short wavy blond hair slightly sticking up at the back with a stubborn cow-lick that refused to sit flat even though it had been under a hood until he'd removed the coat. As he looked closer at the reflection in the water Caleb realised that one of his eyes was blue, the other brown. He marvelled at the strangeness of it as he'd not really had a chance to see his own reflection before. His face was thin. He was thin. Not as lithe as Lucina; an unhealthy thin. He resolved to get something for them to eat later as he took of his vambraces. With those off he got to work on his leather cuirass, carefully laying it over his coat. The light sleeveless shirt that he wore underneath it was the next thing to be removed. He winced as he caught sight of the bruises that he had. Judging by their angry purplish colour they'd left the future less than a day ago; or more accurately they were taking an incredibly long time to heal.


The bruises had been caused by Kjelle's somewhat brutal physical training; training that no matter how hard Caleb tried, he could never do well at all. He sighed as the last of his clothing was added to the pile he'd made. He stepped into the water and suppressed a sharp cry as the cold current made him shudder. Thankfully it wasn't too cold and he adjusted to it. He had to keep from grimacing as he dipped under the water. He didn't like getting water in his ears.


Once he was sure that he was about as clean as he was going to get he waded back towards the bank of the river. His hair was still wet and he would need a bit to dry off. He frowned as there was a breeze that he didn't expect. With a sigh he used wind magic to get as dry as he could before he redressed. He'd gotten his platoons on when he heard the rustle of the leaves, “Caleb where are you?”

'Shit!' Caleb thought, 'I'm not even fully dressed...Lucy is going to have a heart attack if she sees the bruises I got from Kjelle!'

The sound drew closer as the young tactician desperately tried to calm down and at least get his sleeveless shirt on before Lucina saw the worst of the bruises, Caleb knew without a doubt she was going to see some of them and he wanted to make sure she didn't see too much.

Are you alright?” Lucina asked coming into view,

Peachy.” Caleb responded quickly, pulling on his boots, now all he needed to do was to get his vambraces and coat on and the bruises would be hidden from Lucina...

Those bruises...they're from Kjelle aren't they,” Lucina said sternly. Caleb sighed, “Caleb! You should be more careful!”

I was being careful Lucy,” Caleb said through slightly gritted teeth, as sure enough Lucina had seen what he didn't want her to see. The angry dark splotches on his arms caused by Kjelle's lance hitting him when he wasn't fast enough to block it. Thankfully she didn't see the others.

I highly doubt that,” Lucina frowned as Caleb got his leather cuirass back on, “I know what you're like.”

Of course you do Lucy.” Caleb muttered pulling his vambraces on, hiding the mark on his right hand once more,

What was that?” Lucina said suddenly firm,

Nothing Lucy...” Caleb sighed, and Lucina frowned then she looked down at the ground,

Caleb...it's just...I don't want to lose you like we lost our parents...” Caleb looked at Lucina and saw that she was struggling to control her emotions again,

Lucy,” He said gently now, “you're not going to lose me; I promise.” he was almost fully dressed, “I'm the tactician remember?” he rested a gentle hand on Lucina's shoulder once his coat was back on and saw a small smile on her face, “Hmm it's not quite there, but it's a start. Come on Lucy let's go save Lon'qu.”

Right,” Lucina said as Caleb removed his hand from her shoulder and was already tucking away his tome, “After I have some time to bathe.”

Of course,” Caleb said leaving the clearing so he wouldn't see anything that he wasn't supposed to, “Let me know when you're ready to travel again Lucy.”


The trip to Regna Ferox was both difficult and time consuming. Not only were there risen to contend with but bandits as well. Luckily for Caleb he was travelling with one of the most skilled swords-men or rather swords-women in the world at this point in time. Chrom being the only exception to that rule and perhaps his mother, but Caleb knew she was better at magic than swords. He stayed close to support Lucina with each fight that they'd had with risen or bandits. They were about halfway towards Regna Ferox when Lucina decided that they would stop in a local town.


Caleb had been meaning to get some supplies and information regarding the gemstones' locations. He sadly wasn't able to glean all that much. What he did find out however was that there was a tournament in Regna Ferox that would decide the ruling Khan (which he knew already. Confirmation that it wasn't too far away was good news. It meant that they weren't too far ahead of their mark to changing fate). As he arrived to the camp he and Lucina had set up that afternoon, he told her about it; Lucina gripped her rapier tightly clearly in thought. Caleb left her for the moment checking what he'd managed to get from the merchant.


The food was good; Caleb tried to give Lucina a slightly larger portion than his own as he felt that as she was the one that did more fighting than he did and had need of it. However Lucina wouldn't allow it and they ended up having equal servings with Caleb resolving to make sure that he at least got her a decent dessert.


He was nose deep in a tome that had listed various combat skills. In his study he came across one that was most interesting. He looked up at Lucina who looked exhausted; he knew that he felt just as tired as she did. “Hey Lucy...” Caleb said softly; trying not to startle her,

Hmm?” Lucina looked up at Caleb mildly confused “Yes Caleb?”

I was think of us trying to learn something that might help in combat.” He said stifling a yawn,

Lucina sighed. Of course Caleb was one to think of skills that could be used in combat. He was a tactician after all. She didn't know how he'd gotten that book but it seemed to interest him to no end. Funnily enough Lucina was in the mood to see what he had to say, “Anything else?” Lucina asked, waiting to see what Caleb would say as more often then not she found that he was surprisingly wise beyond his years, having helped her get out of a lot of scrapes in the past as well as helping her find all of the Shepherd's children, locating the gemstones and the stellar escape from their time into the past. Both had been through quite a lot all things considered. Lucina only just realised it now that she had time to think about it. It was good to have Caleb by her side and he never seemed to disappoint her,

Well,” Caleb began, “There are quite a few skills that are passive, some that tend to “activate” under certain conditions and others that seem to require a degree of focus to use properly.”

Lucina leant forward at his words, “And they are useful?” She asked knowing that he wouldn't actually talk about things that were not useful to them,

Yeah,” Caleb replied, “Although there are some that seem to stem solely from your bloodline, like Aether and Ignus.”

Ignus huh?” Lucina mused,

It's said that Ignus requires maximum focus to use as it blurs the line between mana and your physical strength. Aether is similar but it allows you to recover from some wounds while adding to your potential damage output by over coming your opponent's defences or magical resistance if you use a tome.”

It sounds really complicated.” Lucina said,

It can be,” Caleb admitted, “But mother was a great teacher.”

Lucina sighed. She was glad that she had Caleb by her side even if she didn't always understand what the young man was talking about. She supposed that she would eventually work it out. After all Caleb often ended up explaining things in a way that made some sense.


Three weeks had passed since Caleb had bought the tome and each night that they had to themselves saw Caleb reading it. He knew that he had to catch up to his mother's level of skill somehow. Even so the young man focused on what he had to do. Not only that he was looking for leads as best he could about all of the others who had come back in time with them, he was also trying to make certain that he could find the gemstones and make certain they remained in the right hands.


So far there were no leads on the others. Not even Yarne or Nah could be found. Which was difficult to believe given that Taguel and Manaketes were such rare beings that people would talk if they encountered them. Caleb groaned in frustration as he desperately tried to think of where they would all be. Caleb feared that the worst had come to pass as they travelled to Regna Ferox. So far not a single person was to be found that matched any of the descriptions that Caleb was looking for...although there was one potential lead on Laurent that was promising; if it wasn't a hoax. Even so Caleb knew it wasn't going to be easy to find them all; he hoped that they had all arrived.




Chrom and the shepherds soon found themselves fighting what the council had decided to dub as 'risen'. Robin seemed to look quite pale but he noticed that she was an incredible tactician. She knew what she was doing and the fight was easily ended...at least that was what it seemed to him. There were some injuries but between Lissa's staff and Virion's elixers they were fine. It also helped that Robin and Miriel were both able to weaken the risen with magic ambushing them while the rest of the shepherds were able to fight the risen.


Caleb and Lucina made their way to the border of Regna Ferox and Ylisse. So far the young man had deduced that they would need at least a week to get to the tournament. Thankfully they were making good time; at least Lucina hoped that they were. It was a bit hard to tell with Caleb's face being mostly hidden by the hood that he wore up most of the time. She had to wear a mask as well so she couldn't see as much as she'd like to but it was for the best. If they were in the public eye at least. Once they were alone Caleb would pull his hood down while Lucina removed the mask for a while.


Once Caleb and Lucina were at the border it was a matter of working out where to go from there. Caleb was pretty certain that it was for the best that the pair aided the shepherds by altering the events that happened before Lon'qu was killed. It was the best that they could do for now. And Caleb had felt that it would help prevent the return of Grima, something that he was keen to do as much as possible.


As luck would have it the pair of travellers had arrived in Regna Ferox with time to spare. Caleb listened to the rumours that he could but they didn't mention anything about the gemstones. He sighed as he looked to Lucina. She was going to have to be the one that challenged Lon'qu after all the young man knew that of the two of them she was the one with the strength enough to fight...and was a woman which apparently was Lon'qu's fatal weakness. Of course that was just a rumour that Caleb had heard which if they were right it would be easy enough to save Lon'qu. At least that was what Caleb was planing at any rate. If not then he would have to make sure that Lucina was ready for a fight. It was his job after all to prepare her for what might come. And as he looked over the guards shifting about near the wall Caleb knew that this job would be a bit more complex than before.


If anyone were to tell Basilio that he would end up with a new champion that came out of no where and knocked Lon'qu flat he would have laughed at them. Lon'qu was in Basilio's mind peerless with a sword. Well except that Basilio could best the man if he wanted but that was different. However Marth and Kris soon changed that. If Basilio didn't know any better he would have said that Kris had sized up Lon'qu in a way that was odd. The shorter of the two Basilio half expected the higher pitched voice to come from Kris and not Marth. However Basilio wouldn't deny Kris' strange way with magic. It was definitely Plegian, the boy being far more skilled with it than the blade. Although Basilio had met a few mages in his time none of them came close to Kris. The boy was another mage altogether. Of course Basilio only found this out after Marth had beaten Lon'qu, as he'd questioned the boys jointly. They were quite interesting to say the least.


With a very good impression on Basilio, Caleb was grateful to be able to have access to books that he needed. In fact Basilio seemed not to mind the young man wondering the library; although Caleb knew that he was being watched by a shadow, the lad paid it little heed. There were so many books that he'd not had the chance to look at and even though Regna Ferox was mostly a warrior country, there were still more texts then he'd had access to in the future. It saddened him to think of everything that was lost by his time. Caleb was content to use his time wisely knowing that Lucina would want to train as hard as she could to achieve the best possible results. He too would have to pick up the sword again...even though he knew how well that was going to go. He sighed and placed the book he'd been reading back where he found it. Time would tell if they were doing the right thing.


Lucina was hacking away at the training dummy when she heard familiar footsteps. She looked up mask still on her face. She could see Caleb's coat as the wind blew it away from his thin frame. She often wondered why he even bothered with swords; given that magic was clearly his speciality and he didn't seem to have the strength to wield them. She however did remember asking him about it only ever once. The words that he'd used were clear,

Really Lucy,” He'd grinned, “Why wouldn't I use a sword? I may not be as strong as you or Kjelle. However a sword would be just as useful to me as a tome is, perhaps even more so in some cases. Not many people expect a mage to use a blade and that could give me an edge over the enemy.”

She hadn't known what he meant then and even now it still confused her. However as she watched him once again try to make a dent into the training dummy she couldn't help but notice that they were being watched by none other than Basilio. The Khan was looking at Caleb with a very thoughtful eye. Lucina looked at the dummy before her and looked back at Caleb,

Kris,” She said, “Spar with me.”

Caleb looked at Lucina and nodded. He readied himself knowing what was going to inevitably happen and the bruises that he was going to receive.


Caleb dodged Lucina's initial swing; although he knew that she could get a lot more intense when she was serious. Her vertical strike threw him off balance and Caleb grimaced. He tried to keep clear of Lucina and put a bit of distance between them. Mostly he avoided her strikes, never meeting them head on, knowing that she out paced him. However for the ones he simply couldn't dodge, he did his best to deflect with his own sword. He certainly wasn't anywhere near Lucina in terms of skill with a sword. However he was far more adapt at magic. His eyes focused not just on his opponent, but on the terrain and areas that would help him dodge her more effectively, throw her off balance making it harder for her to land a solid blow to him. In his mind's eye he saw her strength as an actual number. Her defences and her mana. Her resistance...everything. He could tell just how easy it was for her to beat him, how hard it was for him to best her...it was a lot to take in for the layman. For a tactician it was second nature and Caleb did it almost without actual effort.


Basilio watched the small sparring match that unfolded before him. Marth was definitely the better of the two having more skill with the sword, however Kris seemed to be holding his own. Not by much but the smaller lad clearly knew what he was doing when it came to fighting with a sword.


The Khan thought about it.  It was unusual for any mage to wield a sword without a horse for protection from attacks as well as range to get clear to swap their weapon over. Basilio remembered Marth saying that Kris was his “tactician” and it seemed to be more of a class then a title that was given to a strategist like the one for Regna Ferox (who preferred to use axes). The Khan guessed that Kris was a damn good mage, though how good remained to be seen. He did seem to be Plegian after all and yet there was something off about that. Most Plegians that Basilio knew would never side with an Ylissean like Marth clearly was. Perhaps it was a sign of how charismatic Marth actually was to get a Plegian to fight alongside him. Or the lad was one of those Plegians that were not involved in the past conflict. Basilio was uncertain but from what he could see both lads were most certainly going to win him full Khanship over Regna Ferox. He had full confidence in their abilities. His musings would be kept to himself for the time being and he knew that he would have to do some training himself. He could see that the pair were good fighters and that was a good sign for him. Even if Kris was a little odd in how he fought Basilio was sure they would win. Hell perhaps Kris' strange fighting style would be the deciding factor that would tip the balance once again into Basilio's favour more so than the predictable movements of a sword user like Lon'qu or Marth. He of course had yet to see Flavia's champion and doubted she would find anyone of great strength if the last battle for Khanship was to be a trend.


Caleb heaved a sigh as he watched Lucina practice some more. The pair spent most of the day training for the up coming tournament then they arrived just in time it seemed for a meal. They ate sparingly and went up to the quarters that were provided for them. Caleb made sure that Lucina had the softer bed, she would need it to get the best rest. He decided that for the time being he would focus on his studies. What he wasn't prepared for was the soft knock long after Lucina had fallen asleep in the bed chamber behind him. “You awake?” Came the curt deep voice of Lon'qu from the main entrance of the quarters,

Are you after me or Marth?” Caleb asked, and the door opened,

You of course.” Lon'qu said looking at the hooded boy in Plegian robes with a frown on his face, the Chon'sin warrior wanted to know exactly why the boy had Basilio looking at him with a thoughtful expression. He saw the boy looked at him with a thoughtful expression,

I hardly think there is reason enough to need me.” He said. Lon'qu couldn't see the boy's face but he did see the frown,

Perhaps;” Lon'qu conceded, “However I want to spar with you.”

I'm no where near as powerful as Marth.” Caleb responded,

Humph,” Lon'qu grunted, “And yet Basilio thinks that you have a similar skill level.”

Caleb blinked but heaved a sigh, “Alright then,” he said closing the book he was reading, “However I do believe you'll have an easier time sparring with me than you did with Marth.”


Lon'qu frowned as he stared down Kris. The lad still had his hood up even as they left the quarters that were for him and Marth to share. Kris it seemed was clearly focus on him and as they sparred there was a subtle yet noticeable hint that the lad was skilled enough, but he definitely lacked the strength to follow through with his strikes. Yet for all that it seemed that he was following Lon'qu's movements. The boy seemed familiar with with how to fight a myrmidon, almost as if he was well versed in the techniques.


After half an hour it was clear to Lon'qu that the boy was actually being honest. He wasn't physically strong but what he lacked in the physical strength, he made up for in his power with tomes. The fact that the boy changed between tomes and swords was enough to make Lon'qu realise that there was more to Kris then first met the eye. The boy made his sword and tome technique work in a way that was clearly his own. However Lon'qu noticed that the lad didn't use much of his tome. Perhaps it was because he was too strong with his magic and didn't want to bring it to bare. Even so Lon'qu had been hit with a wind spell that frankly hurt far more than the sword strike that the boy used.

Edited by TheSilentChloey
Chapter Update :D

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Chapter III: Robin's Gambit


The candle light hovered down low as the figure walked into the room. They were not supposed to be here. And they knew that any moment they could get caught and perhaps suffered a fate worse than death. No, it should not have been worth the risk to do this...to find out what the Grimleal were actually planning, but what did the figure know? All she was there for was to bare a vessel for their master...the light flickered again as the figure heard yet more footsteps. She hastily dived for cover and quaked as people arrived.



Really Validar, how long is it going to take for you to accept that you will never be the vessel of our master?” A silky voice snapped furiously, “Stop wasting our time with your foolishness! Either you get that witch pregnant by the new moon or so help me I'll hex you to!”

Now, now,” Validar's voice soothed, “She needs to adjust to our ways Mother, she's young an...”

A sharp slapping sound filled the room. Validar had fallen silent then the silken voice spoke again, this time sending shivers up the spine of the hiding figure, “Then I shall hex you both! Because it was written by Master Grima that I would live to see the vessel's birth! I'll do whatever it takes to make damn certain that happens as the Master has ordered!”

The figure's breath was rapid and shaky any moment now and she would be found. The footsteps stopped and the figure held her breath, “Of course Mother,” Validar responded, “It will be as Master Grima has dictated.”

The figure struggled not to let out a furious sound. He'd accepted their fate?! How could he didn't he know that their Plegia would be destroyed by the Fell Dragon?! The figure froze as a cold feeling swept up her body, “Really girl did you think that you could hide from me, it is time for you to fulfil your purpose; now.” The silken voice muttered a hex and the figure collapsed unable to move or speak. There was nothing she could do...


Caleb was frozen as the nightmare of flames was all around him; black flames that he couldn't see through blocking his way towards Lucina and the others, his head pounding fiercely as he struggled towards his friends. He felt a great weight pulling him into the flames. No matter how hard he fought the pull just got worse. He tried to scream; yet there was nothing but death all around him. He felt a sharp pain in his head as a voice whispered,

Why do you resist me?


Caleb woke gasping for air as Lucina placed a cool cloth on his head, “Thank the gods you're awake,” Lucina's relief was clear, “After the beating you took at the arena...well I wasn't sure that you would make it.”

Caleb groaned as he realised what had happened. Of course he had to engage his mother in combat didn't he. With another groan he sat up, “Damn I forgot how terrible Mother is when it comes to magic duels.”

“Caleb?” Lucina looked at her friend worried,

“I'll be ok Lucy,” Caleb looked up at Lucina and tried to smile, “It's just that my Mother was really strong, did I really have a chance in the first place?”

“Caleb?” Lucina's voice sounded more distant,

“We we right to save Lon'qu.” Caleb continued, freezing as something didn't seem right...


He woke with a start. His head pounded and he didn't exactly know what was going on. Then he remembered that the previous evening he'd sparred with Lon'qu. With a groan he felt where the swordsman had hit hard with his blade and sighed. So much for not getting beat up again. Caleb looked about the room and noticed that Lucina was nowhere to be seen. He sighed and guessed that she would be out training. He pulled on his coat and sniffed the air. It was oddly enough carrying the scent of food. Caleb decided to investigate that in case Lucina was there. If she wasn't then he would check the training grounds, because he knew her well enough to know that she would be there.


He passed quite a few Feroxi warriors along the way. Most he noticed were happily chatting about the up coming tournament while others were talking about training. Keeping his head somewhat down Caleb made his way to the main hall and did a double take. Chrom and the Shepherds were there. Caleb frowned and decided that he would cautiously find out what was going on.


Robin sighed, “Well I'm glad that we could get here at least.”

“So how long are we going to have to wait for?” Lissa asked,

“I'd wager that the Khan is out training after all in Ferox battle is their politics!”

“You sure know a lot don't you Robin?” Chrom said with a frown,

“Being the Former Tactician of Plegia does have some benefits Chrom.” Caleb watched his mother and felt a soft smile on his face. She and the others had made it. And she seemed to be well. With that sorted he turned to leave the group. He knew what was going to happen next. Chrom would ask Khan Flavia for help and the woman would offer it if they won the tournament as she wasn't in power. Chrom would decide that it was the quickest way to gain help for Ylisse and deal with the growing bandit problems.


Caleb eventually found Lucina tearing into a training dummy and he sighed. She was certainly was determined to save Lon'qu and for that he knew it was the best that they could do at present. He sighed as he opened his book having taken a seat not too far from where Lucina was hammering away at the dummy. According to what he read there would be a learning curve for him and Lucina if they wanted to learn Ignus and Aether respectively they had a road ahead that was steep and somewhat dangerous. Caleb frowned and continued looking into the skills it wasn't until he heard the sound of stillness that he looked up. The air was oddly quiet and Caleb once again felt like someone was watching him. He turned quickly to see who it was but noticed that there was no one. He frowned and jumped a mile when Lucina placed her hand on his shoulder,

“Is everything alright Kris?”

Y-yeah,” Caleb said quickly, “Everything's fine Marth.” He however gave Lucina a look that said “Later, I can't say it in front of people who are not time-travellers.” Lucina it seemed understood the look and nodded,

“Alright Kris, don't over do it please, we need you to be in fighting form tomorrow.”

“Sure.” He said aware of the eyes that were on them. Khan Basilio it seemed was looking at them. Caleb sighed inwardly and decided that he would see about getting Lucina and himself something to eat. At least he would have had Lucina not given him that look. “We should get something to eat.” Caleb said carefully and Lucina sighed but sheathed her sword. One disaster avoided Caleb headed back indoors to eat and happened to cross paths with none other than Lon'qu. Of course Caleb merely nodded in the man's direction and went to continue on his way when Lon'qu's hand stopped him, “Is there something you need of me?” the boy asked and Lon'qu spoke,

“Perhaps we could train some time.” The man really wanted to see more of how the boy fought more than anything else; especially since he had such a strange fighting technique that Lon'qu wasn't quite able to place.

“Uh, sure...” Caleb replied slightly confused. Especially after he was so comprehensively defeated by the man the last time they crossed swords he would have thought that Lon'qu wanted nothing to do with him. Then again Caleb had remembered that if not for Lucina this man wouldn't make it past the coming tournament. Caleb frowned as he walked to get himself something to eat.


With some food eaten Caleb turned his attention to some training of his own. He sat out in the training area where there was no chance of others getting hurt should his magic not be in control. Eyes closed Caleb focused his mind on holding the thunder in his hand. He wasn't doing to use Thoron this time and that would be the most important thing. He would instead focus on Elthunder or maybe even just Thunder for the tournament as he didn't want to hurt anyone...killing them was out of the question Caleb knew that. He decided that he would work with Thunder and leave it at that. After all he didn't want to hurt anyone and given that he didn't want to waste the wind tome, he would store it for now. He knew that Lucina would use Falchion, that went without saying and he knew better than to get her to use anything else.


Robin sighed as she checked the arena ahead of time. Chrom and the others were fairly busy but she felt out of place. A Plegian that had a past that she would rather forget. She was surprised to see Kris walking about the arena as well and frowned. She had thought him odd since she'd first seen him. He was clearly marked as one of the Grimleal and yet...there was something about his voice that wasn't familiar to her. Perhaps he was an acolyte, not yet bound in the ways of Grima as she had been. She flinched as she realised that coat was too similar to her own to be a coincidence. That was the mark of someone in the Sacred Line. She paused as it seemed that Kris was looking at her.


Caleb had been making some last minute checks when he realised that he was being watched. He froze as he looked at his mother. She was here. He tried not to let his heart hammer with shock but it was hard. The last time he was within earshot of her was when he and Lucina had come from the future. Now it seemed that she could see him better than that dark night and he could see her just as clearly. He struggled to think of what to say, then she spoke in Plegian, “I didn't expect that one of Marth's men would be Plegian,”

“My mother was,” Caleb said quietly, “I wasn't brought up in Plegia.”

Robin looked set to say something else but Caleb saw Lucina and hastened to her side. He'd said too much! He would have to hope like hell that his mother hadn't figured it out!


Robin froze, perfect Plegian had been responded back to her and it seemed that Kris left her with more questions then answers. Validar never mentioned a woman that disappeared to her and even then he didn't mention a brother or cousin or any relative that had left. Robin decided that she would find out later as she saw Chrom come to the arena. The fight would start soon.


Edited by TheSilentChloey

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Chapter IV: Revelations


The cold air was still; calming in a way Caleb thought to himself. A mere hour was left before the tournament was going to start. He'd said too much; even merely mentioning his mother was risky at best and at worst...well there was that to consider as well. Caleb had known that the plan to keep everything back wasn't a good plan but he knew that Lucina wouldn't want to...he groaned and clutched his head in frustration. What the hell was he even thinking? How had his mother got him to talk like that? Caleb was trying to think of what to say but the words failed. What was he going to do if she found out that he was her son? What would happen when she found out that...


“Caleb might we have a word?” Lucina asked her tactician having seen him look almost distracted for the better part of an hour,

“Yes Lucy, what is it?” He asked a little quickly but he seemed to be focused,

“We need to work out what we should do for the fight.” Lucina looked at him expectantly,

“We assess how skilled our parents are and figure out how to use the fight to get them stronger,” Caleb said almost at once, “Then we let them win the fight to give Ylisse the aid that they need,” Caleb round off, “Or if worse comes to worst we get the alliance for them,”

“Right,” Lucina said looking at him as he began to pace. She knew that Caleb only ever started pacing when he was worried about something and didn't want to say what it was, “So then you're worrying over nothing then?”

He stopped and she knew that she would have a split second to see what his face was doing...and that window was short, “I guess I am,” He sighed at last and Lucina knew that wasn't the case. Something wasn't right with that sigh. She however decided to let it go for the time being as she had other more important problems to deal with. Like for instance the fact that she would be commanding men that Khan Basilio had given to her for the tournament as well as having Caleb to help her. She was surprised by the gesture but soon found out that it was Feroxi tradition that mandated a team with the “Champion” to lead them into battle.


Half an hour passed before Caleb was able to clear his head enough to pay attention to what was happening. Lucina was walking forwards as if she was waiting for something. Caleb realised that it was time to fight and raced to his position.


Meanwhile on the other side of the arena Lissa had spotted both time travellers and called out to her brother at the precise moment that Caleb had got into position, “Chrom!”

“I see them,” Chrom responded and he saw Robin grip her tome. The woman was looking at Kris with an intense gaze. He knew what he had to do, raising his voice he said, “Might I have a question answered before we begin?”


Caleb's grip tightened on his tome and he turned to see Lucina grip her sword's hilt even tighter, so much so that her knuckles were white. Caleb couldn't see what her eyes were saying but her body was clearly struggling with what she had to do. He could see that she was shaking and was doing her best to hide the fact that her emotions were trying to get the better of her.


“Fine then, our swords shall speak for us!” Chrom said drawing Falchion from its sheath.


Caleb watched as Lucina drew her sword in response, the blade glinting in the light of the arena. He watched as an expression of shock appeared as Chrom saw the blade. He heard Chrom's words but he didn't in the same token as he was too focused on Lucina's movements. He heard each grunt of effort from both fighters, saw the dance that moved rapidly across the arena and watched as the dance was concluded.


Cheers from the stands erupted as the Feroxi warriors clearly approved of the show. Caleb watched as Lucina came to him mouth in a line. He knew that she was annoyed and sighed inwardly. It was clear that all was not going according to plan, much to Caleb's annoyance. This was getting to be quite a problem. He listened half-heartedly to the speeches made by both the Khans, didn't even make eye contact with the white haired woman that was staring him down.


Robin looked at Kris; the young man who had left her with far more questions than answers the last time that they spoke. He was ignoring everything that was going on around him, focusing doubtless on the task ahead. Robin could have swore that she saw him watching the brief duel between Chrom and Marth and seemed solely focused on Marth...almost as if there was some sort of relationship between the two young men that went beyond what was supposed to be a tactician and his lord. Robin shook her head at the thought. Kris certainly didn't seem to be the type that would have such a relationship and it was highly possible that he was concerned for Marth and was making sure that he was fine. Robin risked another glance at Kris and knew that it was pointless. She really couldn't see underneath that damned hood. His mouth was a line and that was all that she could make out.


The fight started with the Shepherds approaching the men assigned to Lucina. She had let Caleb decide their strategy and for the most part they had held back. Lucina watched as Lady Robin finished off their other mage and Caleb gave her a sigh, “They're too weak to handle the Shepherds like I thought,”

“So our parents are strong then?” Lucina asked him softly as not to raise suspicion,

“They have strength enough to deal with you know what.” Caleb said calmly, “All they need is experience and time, one of which is in very short supply,”

“I know,” Lucina sighed in response, the last knight that they had was cut down by her father. She watched as Lady Robin seemed to regroup the Shepherds, “It looks like we'll be able to find out if they are ready to face it.”

Caleb nodded and pulled out his Thunder tome. It was time to face their parents.


Robin looked over at Kris. It was time that she got some damn answers out of the young and apparently arrogant little hot shot. The most important part was separating him from Marth. She had to do something about the closeness of Kris to Marth. One would be on her before the other was dealt with. She spoke to Chrom and they decided to take on one of the young men each.


The crowd cheered loudly with the noise making it hard for Caleb to fully concentrate on the fight. His mother was standing across from him, brown eye narrowed and a frown on her face. Her short white blond hair glinted in the light of the arena. She was gripping an iron sword in one hand and a thunder tome in the other. Caleb would have felt it a sparing match had it not been for the fact that she was looking so serious. He sighed and was surprised by the words his mother spoke,

“Tell me,” she demanded in Plegian, “Who was your mother?”

“I've said enough for one day, Ma'am,” Caleb responded, “I do hope that crossing spells will help to make you stronger. May the best mage win,”

Robin frowned and made her magic strike quickly but Kris deflected it without too much trouble. She leapt left in the effort of throwing the young man off balance but he was her equal spell for spell. His movements were swift and calculated, thunder cracked as Thunder spell met Thunder spell. Robin tried to find an opening but it was clear that Kris was being particularly good with blocking her at just the right possible moment neither side gaining the advantage for long enough to have a stroke of victory. Robin found herself lost in a magical dance that had the crowd go oddly quiet.


The warriors of Regna Ferox rarely had any decent mages go into combat, most mages were only capable of lower level magic and basic combat movements but the two clearly Plegian dressed mages were going toe to toe in what had to be the most fast pace fight that Basilio or Flavia had ever seen. The older Khan lent forwards as he watched Kris, Marth's tactician deflect a good portion of the Ylissean's tactician's moves without too much effort. The lad was a damn good mage, better than some of the mages that Basilio had offered to Marth for the tournament. He wondered just how long the lad had been training. He was clearly a step above the Ylissean lass that he was spell flinging with.


Meanwhile Chrom had his hands full with Marth. It was clear that Marth was skilled but it was also clear to the Prince that Marth was distracted. He was not as focused as he was before when Kris wasn't on the battle field and Chrom was certain that there was something he was yet to be aware of. The dance that they were in gave Chrom little room to think too much, Marth was fast; the strikes calculated. It was clear that Marth had some formal sword training. Chrom snuck a glance at an annoyed looking Robin fighting it out with Kris. The young man's hood suddenly flew off and Chrom did a double take.


Kris had eyes that were two colours. Chrom noticed that the young man had short curly hair with a very prominent cow-lick. His face bore a striking resemblance to Robin's; which at first made Chrom think that Kris was some sort of cousin to his tactician. He however didn't have much time to think further on the discovery as Marth came in and forced Chrom into blocking a volley of attacks.


Robin had paused when she saw the hood come off Kris. He was very young looking and Robin couldn't help but wonder at the fact that each of his eyes were a different colour. Now she really had questions that she wanted to know the answers to. With a frown she decided to switch to swords and it seemed that was the way she was going to seal the end of the fight.


Caleb had barely any time to respond to the shot of the sword before it was too late. He felt it hit him on the side of his chest and then felt the air get forced from his lungs. Winded he staggered backwards. He was trying not to fall, yet it seemed that time had slowed down. He was falling and unable to curse at the most simple manoeuvre being used against him. He'd been too focused on deflecting magic and not enough on deflecting a sword. How had he not noticed it? The world suddenly faded into black and that was the last think that he remembered.


Lucina was beside herself with worry. Caleb wasn't getting up and she knew that he'd been defeated. She ran to his side half sliding across the ground; care had to be taken not to reveal their names but in that moment she almost said it.


When Caleb opened his eyes it was to Lucina's worried expression. His side ached with a dull pain that seemed to be fading so he felt safe enough to sit up. Lucina jumped as Caleb struggled to get up. “D-damn,” Caleb groaned, “Why didn't I think of the damn sword?”

“Caleb!” Lucina cried burying her face into his chest so suddenly that he felt a hot blush across his face, “Thank gods you're alright!” Caleb awkwardly tried to soothe the sobbing that was coming from her by gently stroking her hair. The hug was making his heart pound just that bit too fast but he could manage it. Once Lucina had calmed down Caleb was able to speak,

“We should get moving, we don't have the time to wait around, right now there is a possible lead on Laurent and Nah,”

“You found some leads?!” Lucina exclaimed suddenly excited,

“Well they're not solid but they are worth checking on,” Caleb explained to her, “One though is in a desert so we should prepare for some trouble.”

“Right,” Lucina nodded, “But what about the-”

“We'll make it, which is why time is of the essence,” Caleb said getting to his feet. Lucina looked at him and then she nodded. They would have to travel quickly.


Caleb made his way forward with Lucina, it had been two hours since he'd woken. Apparently he'd not been out as long as he feared but it was still long enough to annoy him. With a sigh he focused on the map that he had. They would have to travel further to make certain that they could get to where Nah might be. At least according to the lead that Caleb had. It was all that he had to go on. Laurent's seemed more solid but it would be closer to Ylisstol so Caleb decided that it would be best to go for Nah first. He hoped it was the best choice.


Meanwhile Robin was just outside the Shepherd's camp. She was frustrated and feeling ill. She could only hope that the feeling would go away and soon. Questions floated in her head about what was going on and why of all people Chrom had extended the hand of friendship to a Plegian woman. Especially one with a past like her own. Even now she shuddered as she thought of her own escape from Validar and instinctively reached towards her injury. Even now it still burned with pain. Robin closed her remaining eye and felt the tears leaking down her face unbidden. How she longed for the pain to end. How she longed to know a life without looking over her shoulder for Grimleal mages. How she longed for the day that the fear would be gone for good.


Caleb spent the last hour trying not to let Lucina see that that he was still hurting from the sword blow but doubtless she knew it. They had spent the last three days looking for Nah and so far had come up empty. Caleb was about to wonder if the lead was fake when a loud scream caught his ears. He gripped Lucina's arm without thinking, “Lucy, did you hear that?” He was tense. His side still hurt but he could fight,

“Hear what...” Lucina paused as the sound of another scream pierced the air,

“NAH!” They both cried and ran towards the sound.

Inside there was a young girl with long green hair in dual ponytail braids. The sound of footsteps alerted her that help was on its way and as she looked towards the entrance she saw two familiar people. Joy threatened to make itself know and even though Nah was glad to see them she wasn't happy about needed to be rescued.


Caleb heaved a sigh of relief when they finally located Nah. It was a good feeling to have another friend to help them stop the Fell Dragon and for that Caleb was thankful. He watched as Nah and Lucina spent the rest of the evening talking about how they were going to find Laurent and what would be Caleb's likely course of action. They soon started to talk about “girl” things and Caleb tuned right out of it. It wasn't his place to eavesdrop and it wasn't relevant to him. With a sigh he got up and walked away from the crackling fire. The air was cold, but for Caleb it wasn't as bad as what he was used to. He stopped briefly and spoke, “I'm going to see if I can get us some food, I shouldn't be too long alright,”

Lucina and Nah immediately stopped talking and Lucina's gaze locked onto Caleb, he'd not bothered to pull his hood up since it came off during the fight with his mother, and for the first time in a long time Lucina could not help but worry a little, “Be careful,” She responded making Nah snicker, “We need our tactician,”

“Sure,” Caleb said waving in response, “If I come across trouble you'll know it,” His back was turned so he did not see Nah's expression but he knew that she was smirking.


Laurent was easy enough to find, but the fact that there was bandits out for some treasure lead Caleb to make a plan to take them all out for the sake of the locals present. Laurent was happy to provide assistance and Caleb knew that Laurent was at least three years ahead of Lucina now, yet it seemed that Laurent was still happy enough to follow Caleb's lead, something Caleb had not anticipated. He however was not going to worry too much as now they had a more pressing issue, one which as Laurent agreed was of “up most importance,” and the four now had to make haste to Ylisstol.


Lucina had suggested that once they set up camp that Laurent and Nah guard the camp while she and Caleb set out for the up coming mission. Caleb had supplied both Nah and Laurent with some vulneries to keep them going. Caleb didn't like leaving the two alone as neither Laurent or Nah got along that well, with Nah complaining that Laurent was a lecher. Despite the fact that Inigo was by far the most likely to be one. Caleb could only hope that they got on without too much of a fuss.


As the pair walked, they looked up at the stars, Caleb heaved a sigh as he saw the constellation of the Hero King. Hopefully they would save the Exalt. Tonight was the night that fate would be re-written. Lady Emmeryn would live to see the new sun over Ylisstol and Caleb would die trying to make it so.


Meanwhile Chrom was out looking at the stars. He was less certain over what he should do. They were very lucky to have Maribelle and Ricken both be alive after the stunt the young mage pulled, but really Chrom could not have asked more of them. His thoughts turned to Robin and he sighed. She was labelled a backstabbing traitor by Gangrel and the orders where to have her killed. Chrom didn't think he'd seen her tremble even once. Emmeryn had of course agreed that Robin could stay with them, Robin having done what she could to protect the Exalt and all of the Shepherds. For Chrom it was even harder to think about the fact that war was so close on the horizon. He'd seen how depressed Robin had been at Gangrel's choice. The sound of footsteps broke his line of thought, “Chrom...you're out late, something the matter?”

Chrom heaved a sigh, “I'm just dueling with some very unpleasant thoughts,”

Caleb paused as he saw Chrom's expression. The poor man was not very happy, and Caleb had seen that face before. It was as if the weight of the world was on Chrom's shoulders. Nothing was more clear. The young man and his female companion listened as Chrom struggled with his own dark thoughts, voicing that he would kill Gangrel if it came down to it, although he wouldn't want his sister Emmeryn to give such an order,

“Well spoken sir,” Lucina said as she and Caleb came out of hiding,

“MARTH?! KRIS?!” Chrom looked like he was going to grip his sword and Caleb's expression softened, “How in the world did you get in here?!”

“Good eve,” Lucina stated, “to answer your question, the cleft in the castle wall; behind the grove of maple trees,”


“You know of this place Chrom?” Robin asked expression concerned,

“Well...I uh...might have...oh gods...bashed the wall in while I was training the Shepherds...it was only a small hole and well hidden but...”

“Peace Prince Chrom; the secrete is safe with us,” Caleb said keeping his expression neutral, “We came only to bring you a warning. I am afraid that the Exalt is in danger,”

“What?! That's absurd! Emmeryn is guarded all hours!”

“What if we told you that we had seen the future?” Lucina asked Chrom, “That Exalt Emmeryn is killed this very night and does not live to see the next sunrise,”

“Seen the future? Have you lost your mind?!”

“As expected I doubt that you would believe us, however we do have proof,” Caleb said seriously, “You have no reason to hide fool; we know that you are there!”

Chrom gripped his blade for the briefest of moments as Lucina had already unsheathed her Falchion as Caleb spoke. An assassin broke out of the cover of the bushes, Lucina was ready for him she was already airborne. Her blade made an instant kill.

“I trust that this proof will suffice?” Lucina said to Chrom. The Prince was shaken but confirmed that he would trust them. Caleb was a little bit too slow to see the second assassin, Lucina moved to parry the man but her mask was slashed in two. Caleb however focused on killing the man as quickly as possible. Chrom had the same idea and as Caleb shocked the man, Chrom slashed at him with the Falchion, blade glowing slightly as the moonlight hit it. Chrom turned around to look in Lucina's direction and was placed into a surprise,

“Wait, you're...” His voice cracked slightly as he spoke, a sharp cough came forth as he tried to clear his airways, “You're a woman?”

Caleb looked over to Lucina and saw her expression, “and quite the actress too. Honestly I'm surprised that it took you this long to figure that out,”

The sound of an explosion had Caleb, Lucina, Chrom and Robin run. No one had to say a word about what was going on. All knew that Emmeryn was definitely in danger. And Caleb knew that they would have to work together to save her. At least he was hoping that they could.



Edited by TheSilentChloey

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Chapter V: The Future is Built Upon the Past

MARTH?! KRIS?!” Chrom looked like he was going to grip his sword and Caleb's expression softened, “How in the world did you get in here?!”

Good eve,” Lucina stated, “to answer your question, the cleft in the castle wall; behind the grove of maple trees.”


You know of this place Chrom?” Robin asked expression concerned,

Well...I uh...might have...of gods...bashed the wall in while I was training the Shepherds...it was only a small hole and well hidden but...”

Peace Prince Chrom; the secrete is safe with us,” Caleb said keeping his expression neutral, “We came only to bring you a warning. I am afraid that the Exalt is in danger.”

What?! That's absurd! Emmeryn is guarded all hours!”

What if we told you that we had seen the future?” Lucina asked Chrom, “That Exalt Emmeryn is killed this very night and does not live to see the next sunrise.”

Seen the future? Have you lost your mind?!”

As expected I doubt that you would believe us, however we do have proof,” Caleb said seriously, “You have no reason to hide fool; we know that you are there!”

Chrom gripped his blade for the briefest of moments as Lucina had already unsheathed her Falchion as Caleb spoke. An assassin broke out of the cover of the bushes, Lucina was ready for him she was already airborne. Her blade made an instant kill.

I trust that this proof will suffice?” Lucina said to Chrom. The Prince was shaken but confirmed that he would trust them. Caleb was a little bit too slow to see the second assassin, Lucina moved to parry the man but her mask was slashed in two. Caleb however focused on killing the man as quickly as possible. Chrom had the same idea and as Caleb shocked the man, Chrom slashed at him with the Falchion, blade glowing slightly as the moonlight hit it. Chrom turned around to look in Lucina's direction and was placed into a surprise,

Wait, you're...” His voice cracked slightly as he spoke, a sharp cough came forth as he tried to clear his airways, “You're a woman?”

Caleb looked over to Lucina and saw her expression, “and quite the actress too. Honestly I'm surprised that it took you this long to figure that out.”

The sound of an explosion had Caleb, Lucina, Chrom and Robin run. No one had to say a word about what was going on. All knew that Emmeryn was definitely in danger. And Caleb knew that they would have to work together to save her. At least he was hoping that they could.


As Caleb ran down the corridor of the castle, he and Lucina struggled not to think about what was going to have to happen.


Chrom came to a halt just outside the small chamber where his sister was hidden. It was a surprise to see just ho quickly the rest of the Shepherds had arrived. Marth's Falchion had started to glow and she exchanged a quick look at her tactician Kris who looked for all the world like he was frowning. Chrom however had little time to think about that as all chaos broke loose. He barely registered that Kris and Marth had done as he said and stayed near Emmeryn's door, taking out assassins if they got close enough. Maribelle had kept near enough to heal the wounds that he'd gained fighting with some of the enemy while Robin worked to get at least some sort of plan going.


When Panne arrived as Lucina knew she would. Caleb and Lucina had convinced Chrom that Panne meant no harm, and Caleb had to grin at Lucina cheekily, all while Lucina rolled her eyes. They also saw Gaius being recruited and Caleb pulled a face, “I always hated the way he called me Bubbles you know.” he said as he cut down a rogue thief,

I kind of like it.” Lucina said confused as to why Caleb would dislike the name,

It's hardly fitting for a tactician you know!” Caleb sighed.


It took a while but Caleb noticed that it appeared that at last the assassins were thinning in number and it seemed that not a single one had made it to even harm a hair on Emmeryn's head. However that was not to say that the battle was without injuries. Caleb noticed that those that were injured were being healed by both Lissa and Maribelle and Caleb suppressed a smile, he could still remember the one time he'd gotten hurt protecting Lucina from falling too hard out of a tree. Maribelle had been suitably impressed with him; he was however scolded for not being careful and getting hurt at first.


Caleb followed Lucina out to the court yard of the castle where they passed a shrine of Naga. Caleb muttered a small prayer of thanks. Chrom and the others would be safe now. Grima would not return and the Fire Emblem would be safe in Ylissean hands. Yet as Caleb looked at Lucina the same expression was on her face. He was certain that the same thought was there as well. Why did it feel like they had not succeeded? Why did they feel like Grima was still the ominous shadow that was coming to take the future again. Caleb felt a shiver down his spine as Grima's words played in his mind...

They were stopped by Chrom, the Prince it seemed was unhappy without offering some kind of reward. Caleb barely listened to Lucina explain that they didn't need a reward; that history was re-written was reward enough. Lucina lightly touched on what the future would have held and Caleb noticed that Chrom seemed to trust them. Caleb hoped that there would be a day where Grima's shadow didn't taint the world.


Later that night Caleb found himself having that dream again, the dread that filled him was starting to unsettle him. Laurent was sitting by the fire when Caleb sat up. Laurent looked at Caleb, “Ah, it is a bit early to change the guard Caleb.”

I know Laurent, I'm just...having some trouble sleeping.”

Laurent tilted his head, “This seems to be a regular occurrence Caleb.”

Yeah I know.” Caleb groaned shoving his face into his hands. It was quite usual for this to happen and by the gods did Caleb miss Owain and his light-hearted stories. Laurent sighed and took off his glasses to clean them on his robe, the lenses glaring from the light of the fire,

Care to talk about it?” Laurent asked, replacing his glasses, Caleb sighed, “I've read that talking about worries often makes them less worrisome and -”

That will do Laurent,” Caleb responded tiredly, “I know that you wish to help but this isn't something that you can help with, even if you're technically a year older than I am.”

Blast...” Laurent muttered, he'd hoped that Caleb would at least cease to see him as one of the youngest of the Shepherds' children but it seemed that even though Laurent had travelled back in time further Caleb still wouldn't burden him with the other young man's worries,

Besides, we need to work on finding more leads,” Caleb said quietly looking over at Nah and Lucina. Both were asleep by the fire with Nah snoring softly as she was in that blissful dreamless state of sleep. Caleb envied her a little and wished that he too could sleep like that for once, “We need to find the others, we have to make sure that Grima...” Caleb bit his lip and Laurent knew without words what Caleb meant,

Of course, I've been researching to that end and unfortunately the results are surely lacking in that department.”

Damn!” Caleb hissed, then he spoke a little quieter, “So no word of where to find the other gemstones?”

I'm afraid not, the fact remains that there is very little with which to decipher the location of the gemstones.”

Caleb heaved a sigh, “I suppose our next bet is to see if we can find the others but the leads have been slim at best.”

Caleb,” Laurent began, “would it be reasonable to assume that perhaps they like myself could have arrived at differing times?”

I think that might be the case however...” Caleb stopped speaking for a brief moment as a sudden and rather splitting headache stopped him, Caleb barely had time to hide the fact that he was in pain when suddenly Lucina and Nah jumped to their feet, both having been woken by Caleb's sudden cry of pain,

CALEB!” Lucina cried immediately grabbing the Falchion she tried to use it on him but it didn't work. Laurent tried a heal staff but that didn't do anything either. Eventually Caleb was reduced to panting heavily as the pain passed. Lucina shot Laurent a worried look then she spoke somewhat shaken, “Caleb, what happened?” Normally when he was like this in the future it had blind-sided them. Now it seemed that he was just as prone to them as then and that had Lucina worried

I-I don't know,” Caleb huffed, his body shaking from the sudden burst of pain, “I...I think we need to get moving, we're not safe here.”

Lucina looked at Caleb and noticed that he seemed more drained than usual, “We'll move next light,” Lucina declared, “Then we'll find try to find some leads.”

No one was in the mood to argue and as Nah looked over Caleb she began to wonder just what was wrong with the boy.


The next morning they moved out, Laurent and Caleb both gripping their tomes both were as ready as Lucina and Nah for an attack. What they came across was not good. They had found a whole group of women, Pegasus Knights all dead, their mounts shredded by arrows. Caleb felt bile rise in his throat as he beheld the dead women. Nah let out a sharp gasp and Lucina looked away. Even Laurent seemed not to want to look. Caleb drew out a fire tome and spoke, “We can't let Grima turn them into risen,”

O-of course,” Lucina said on the verge of tears, “Laurent...Nah...Caleb...you know what to do.” Lucina turned away as Caleb and Laurent prepared their fire tomes. Nah had transformed into her dragon form and used her breath to freeze the surrounding area so that the fire would not spread.


A figure watched from afar, frowning as he watched the intruder and his vessel travel with the other intruders. The vessel was not alone long enough for him to regain his powers but it was amusing watching them trying to stop him. He'd not much use for his present body, it was getting progressively weaker as time went on and Grima knew that he had power that he so desperately wanted...and a new body. The soul in this one was long dead and as such Grima had nothing to toy with any more. It was such a shame that he didn't have it. One of his favourite risen constantly followed him. The puppet was quite cute and Grima frequently used it. Especially since the body had some...annoying needs. The Fell Dragon could feel the need to make use of his special puppet again soon. He grit his teeth, the pleasure had long since passed. Too bad the rest of them didn't understand why he liked this puppet so much. The short blond hair and covered injured eye had made Validar think that the traitorous woman had returned until Grima had blasted them with dark magic and demanded they leave his puppet alone. After that no one questioned the puppet's existence. The Fell Dragon smirked. He would rise again soon anyway. It was a given.


Caleb stared down at the ashes. His headache had subsided. Lucina finally turned to face Caleb with a mixture of sadness and weariness. This was too common in their time and Caleb felt the sting of it. He was sick and tired of seeing death and destruction. He'd had enough of it. His right hand burned suddenly and Caleb looked around them. He had the feeling that he was being watched. That they were being watched.


Edited by TheSilentChloey

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Chapter VI: But Your Kind Will Never See It!


The figure watched the group his mouth in a thin line. He wasn't quick enough to get those. However he had more pressing issues. The white blond was not the only one under his control, but the other one (his absolute favourite one because it served to truly upset his host the most) had gone missing as well as the little fruit that was travelling with it. The fruit that he'd painstakingly tried to raise as a second host should he lose his current one due to the body's decay while he waited for the vessel to become separated from the intruder so that he could take control. He turned his back and felt anger rise like bile up his throat. He would have to find the fruit and soon. He didn't want to risk this little secret being found out.


It had been unexpected that such a thing should happen. Grima had at that point complete control over the world; almost. He'd taken pleasure from breaking his host and had spent some time enjoying it. When the fruit was born something strange had happened. Grima had tried to kill it but his host somehow gain strength to stop him from doing so. For Grima as the fruit grew it suddenly became a viable option to destroy Naga given that it carried Naga's Mark. Grima found that it was controllable, it had his mark as well. The Fell Dragon decided that he would let this fruit grow and with that in mind kept it hidden and close.


Now though it was gone and for Grima it created a feeling that he was not used to...concern form something other than himself. The white blond haired puppet had done nothing much than provide sustenance for Grima; he was now focusing on finding what he'd lost and yet it seemed as if something was stopping him. Although as far as Grima was concerned there was nothing that could do this to him. With a vicious snarl Grima released a blast of dark magic, the ground burning around him. He had to find the fruit. He just had to.


Caleb tried not to think too much about the dead Pegasus Knights. It was hard though seeing their wounds and knowing that they were all dead. Lucina seemed shaken; hardly surprising when Caleb thought about it. She was clearly going to have nightmares again. Caleb had heard the last few and knew that they would come back handily just as he knew the image of the knights were not going to leave his head. He didn't want to have her suffer like that again and now...he'd failed her and it hurt to think of it. Caleb reached out to hold Lucina's hand. He wanted her to know that she wasn't alone in how she was feeling. However he was pretty sure that Nah was noticing at least and her disapproving looks could be seen every time he dared look in her direction. He really didn't get it. What was Nah so upset by? Didn't she realise that Lucina needed their support? He frowned as Nah gave him a sharp look. They were travelling and Lucina needed to be distracted from what had happened. Right now she needed all of their support regardless of what they felt about one another.


Lucina didn't let go of the gentle hand that was Caleb's. She could feel her heart pounding in her chest. She knew that it was silly but she loved it when Caleb did things like this even though she was very much certain that he was doing this just to lift her spirits and not because he might have feelings for her. She loved the closeness of their friendship and if she wasn't feeling down and out about what she'd witnessed she would have smiled. Sometimes it seemed that Caleb could read her mind, others it seemed that she was reading his, they were close friends that always seemed to know how to cheer each other up whenever they were at a low point. It did help that Caleb was the most optimistic person that she knew...as well as Owain. What surprised her the most was just how much closer they'd become since travelling to the past. She tightened her grip slightly and felt a gentle squeeze returned. Her heart pounded just that bit faster again and for a moment at least Lucina was able to forget the pain of what had happened.


Nah was less than pleased. She knew that Caleb sometimes acted a little odd sometimes around Lucina but she'd never known him to dare hold the Princess's hand. Also she could hear both Caleb's and Lucina's hearts pounding like no tomorrow. If she didn't know any better she would have thought that there was something between them. And Nah didn't like it because she felt awkward about it. Why did she have to have some feelings towards Caleb? Was it because he was so gentle towards them? Or was it because he treated them all as equals like Lucina. Nah sighed and then a thought crossed her mind. What if he'd been like this before and she'd not noticed it? Then she caught his gaze. She frowned at him and he looked away rapidly but Nah could see it. Caleb clearly had feelings for Lucina and Nah could see it.


As the sun set, the sky lit on fire and Robin was staring at it. She was frowning. She was shaken by a recent revelation and she wasn't doing as well as the other Shepherds had hoped. Chrom had tried to speak with her but she'd asked to be left alone for a little while. She was pregnant and that wasn't exactly something to celebrate. She'd known the moment she'd been hexed all those months ago. How she thought otherwise was a joke. That damn woman would have made very much certain that Robin had fallen pregnant before she would be able to escape. Robin felt the tear down her cheek and the sobs caught up to her. She was afraid more than anything else as she'd not wanted this to happen. She'd not wanted to have a child whose fate would be decided before they were born; a child that lost his or her choice on how they wanted to live. It pained Robin to think of how shallow the Grimleal were. And it frightened her greatly.


Maribelle had asked Chrom where Robin was as she wanted to thank their tactician for saving her. Chrom had said that Robin had wanted to be alone but Maribelle decided that she'd spent enough time alone. When Maribelle heard the sobbing she knew that she had to do something. Seeing Robin in such a state had Maribelle worried, “Darling is everything alright?” Maribelle asked the tactician,

Huh? Oh hello Maribelle.” Robin jumped slightly her tone depressed. Maribelle could see that Robin was clearly upset and the young noble woman decided to rest a gentle hand on the tactician's shoulder,

You know that if you need anything I'm here for you darling,” Maribelle said kindly, “As is Lissa.”

Robin sniffed and a small smile appeared on her face, “Thank you Maribelle, I appreciate it more than you can know.” She replied.

Darling it is I who should be thanking you,” Maribelle stated calmly, “Truly without your skill I doubt that Ricken and I would still be here.”

Robin was surprised and couldn't help but let out a small sob. It seemed that the differences between the two women were now sorted out.


Caleb walked through the field surrounding the camp that the group had made and couldn't believe what he was seeing. Flowers were everywhere and their beauty made him want to smile. Here was the perfect thing to cheer Lucina up! Caleb grinned from ear to ear. He couldn't wait to take some to her. He walked carefully throughout the field. He chose the flowers that he felt she would love. He would have to be careful but he was certain that Lucina would be able to smile. After all daisies were a favourite of hers.


Lucina was settled by the fire. Laurent and Nah were both out looking for food and Caleb. She was worried about him. She looked to her left and realised that someone was approaching and would have grabbed her Falchion if not for who it was,

CALEB!” Lucina cried relieved to see him. She noticed that Caleb seemed to be hiding something in his coat and as she looked at him she noticed that there was a slight smile on his face,

Sorry it took me so long,” Caleb apologised sheepishly, “I found something really amazing...I, er...wanted to give you these.” he pulled out daisies. Lucina's eyes widened,

Caleb...did you pick these for me?” She was surprised and couldn't help but smile when his response was to nod, “They're so beautiful! And they smell so heavenly!” Lucina took a moment to enjoy the delicate fragrance; Caleb smiled widely,

I'm glad you like them.” He replied a faint blush hitting his cheeks. He was really pleased that Lucina liked the flowers. He really wanted to help lift her spirits but there was another more subtle reason that Caleb really really did not want to pursue as it would call into question how he felt about Lucina in truth and that was a truth that he wasn't sure that he was ready to face,

So Caleb what are we celebrating?” Lucina asked him and Caleb tried not to sigh,

Nothing really, I thought that you might like some cheer.” He thought that he was being honest but like usual he should have worn his damn hood to keep from Lucina having a chance to figure out the truth. He knew that she would be appalled at him at best and at worst...well he didn't want to think about it,

Oh Caleb,” Lucina smiled and Caleb felt his breath hitch in his throat. He adored Lucina's smile and was in that moment so happy he hardly had the thought process to think about how he was looking, “You really shouldn't worry about me so much.”

Caleb frowned slightly and spoke, “Lucina it's no trouble! You're a dear friend and I want to do anything I can to help.”

Lucina looked at Caleb and he only just realised what he'd said. He knew that he'd dug his own hole and now he was going to have to say the truth. Especially since Lucina was giving him such an intense look of curiosity, Caleb took a deep breath and sighed, 'Here goes nothing,' he thought, he spoke and tried to keep his voice both calm and level, “Actually...I'm not being entirely honest,” He tried to keep himself from blushing, “You are dear to me and are one of my true friends...but...” He chewed his lip,

But?” Lucina said carefully, gently trying to get him to say what he meant. Lucina didn't know why but she felt her heart racing slightly...was he going to say what she thought he was going to say?

But you're more than that...much more!” Lucina blinked in surprise as Caleb continued, “I didn't just pick that bouquet just to cheer you up...I...I did it because...” Caleb felt his face heat up. He had to say it now or never, “Because I- I'm in love with you.”

Lucina felt a glimmer of hope; however she wanted to make certain that she heard the young man right, “What?” Lucina asked voice slightly strained due to her surprise, Caleb's face went bright red and he replied,

Lucina I've fallen helplessly in love with you...” He looked guilty, “I tried not to but I couldn't help it!”

Oh Caleb...” Lucina could felt her heart hammering as she heard words that she knew she'd wanted to hear, however it seemed that Caleb wasn't finished and had more to say,

We've been through so much...and I know that we have so many trials ahead...I know that no matter what has happened or what is to come my feelings won't change! I love you Lucina,” He was shaking slightly and Lucina knew that he was telling her the truth, “With all of my heart!”

At first Lucina couldn't breath, then she finally mustered her voice, “Caleb...I'm...I'm so happy you've told me this,” she couldn't help but cry, tears of joy streaming down her face, “Because you're in my heart as well.”

Truly...” Caleb's hopeful smile was truly breath taking. Lucina nodded, “Those...those are the sweetest words I've ever heard!” Caleb was bursting with a happiness that he simply could not describe, “Lucina, I swear that no matter what happens, no matter what I will be here for you, which ever road that you chose to follow I'll follow it at your side.”

Lucina managed to clear the haze, and she spoke, “And we won't rest until the end!” then Lucina cried happily, “I love you...and no matter what the future holds I'll cherish every moment.”

Caleb smiled and got a little surprised when Lucina decided to kiss him. The moment would have been perfect if not for a voice that cut across the sunset,

Oh gods I knew it!” Nah all but yelled, “I knew that there was something going on with you and Lucina!” the half Manakete was excited clearly but for the others it was normal. Nah always liked to say that she knew things at times as she disliked being proven wrong about anything. She didn't like being one of the youngest of the Shepherd's children, although she wasn't as young as Laurent had been, she was still in the ball park so to speak.

Nah,” Laurent spoke a bit more calmly, “Could you not be so shrill,” He smiled at Caleb once the pair had pulled apart, “I for one would like to extend congratulations.”

Thanks Laurent.” Caleb tried not to blush too much but the pair knew that Caleb was over the moon for the first time in a long while. In fact he felt that despite all that happened to date this was the day that he wanted to remember. The day that Lucina's smile looked most radiant and the day that finally everything finally seemed to be working.


Later that evening Caleb and Lucina decided that they would take the first of the night watch. Laurent and Nah were resting by the fire as Caleb talked softly with Lucina about how they were going to find the others. According to Laurent there was a potential lead on Yarne and Severa. Caleb hoped that they would be able to help him find the others. He still had yet to figure out if he should find the others. As he spoke with Lucina he got the impression that she missed the others. He was loathe to admit it but he even missed Inigo. Inigo and his nasty tone towards the tactician, the arguments over Inigo's flirting habits and his womanizing. However Caleb knew that the person he missed most was Owain. Lucina admitted that they needed Owain's light hearted personality. Caleb knew that at some point they were going to have to do what they could to stop Grima even if Gerome didn't think that they could. Caleb was forever telling Gerome that just because he felt that their past was going to happen again didn't mean that it could. Caleb heaved a sigh. Lucina had decided to rest her head on Caleb's left shoulder, she was contemplating on their next move. Caleb was thinking about how they were going to find Yarne and while Nah didn't agree with it Caleb respected her view. Just as he respected...or rather tried to respect Inigo's view on women. Caleb tucked his left arm around Lucina's shoulders and felt just a little bit happier with what he would do come the next morning. They would travel again and if Naga was kind to them they would easily find their other companions.


Sunrise saw Robin trotting about the Shepherds' camp. Today was the day that they continued their progress towards what Chrom and Frederick called the Eastern Palace. She was astounded by Chrom's natural endurance. She however didn't have her usual stamina thanks to the fact that she was with child. However she had managed to keep it to herself for the time being. It amazed Robin that the Shepherds were so at ease. She couldn't help but feel a slight sense of something bad going to happen. She just hoped that everything would work out.


Progress towards Plegia was necessary slow. Caleb and Lucina travelled steadily with Laurent and Nah. They had most fortunately been joined by a welcome ally. Noire had found them and was quite excited by the news that Lucina and Caleb were an item. She apparently felt safer knowing that; although why Lucina didn't understand. It made her think that perhaps Noire had seen them as part of her family and with that thought in mind Lucina realised that they were in a way. She smiled and decided that she would try to catch Caleb by surprise a little. She caught his arm and Caleb upon realising that it was Lucina relaxed and held her hand. Nah let out a huff but it was in good fun. At least Caleb hoped it was. Lucina it seemed just wanted to enjoy Caleb's company like normal.

Edited by TheSilentChloey

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Shadow Tactician Chapter VII: Child of Grima, Child of Naga


The small child whimpered. She was lost and afraid. She couldn't work out what had happened. One moment she was with her father and mother, the next...well the next she was here. Wherever here was. Sand was as far as her eyes could see and there was a body laying beside her. The tiny child didn't cry; she just thought that her mother was still sleeping, a mother that was close to lifeless anyway, a mother that was only present for her father's needs a father that was all the child had left. A father that trained her in battle tactics and strategy from the day she could walk, a father she was forced to call “Master Grima” or else his eyes would glow crimson; like pools of blood before being punished. She wanted to know why it was then that “Master Grima” wasn't here, was this another of his punishments for failing to stay by his side as he'd commanded? She was a good girl, she stayed with her mother, just like he'd told her to! She didn't and hadn't left her mother's side for three days no matter how hard the thirst burned her throat or the hunger clawed at her stomach. She still didn't cry even on the third day as she heard voices approach...although there was only one voice that she was listening out for. She rose swiftly...it was his voice; something was different however. It wasn't as cold or as cruel and the child was thoroughly confused. Then she began to wonder if this was her real father. She had precious little to go on but she was certain that it was.


Caleb had been walking with Lucina to search for some water while Laurent and Noire guarded the camp. Nah was searching for food. There was nothing to indicate that something was going to happen until Lucina's Falchion started to glow, and as he moved to see what was going on he heard a faint rustle in some sparse vegetation. Lucina and he both looked towards the sound and both were taken aback by the small child that came out of the vegetation, “A-are you lost little one?” Lucina asked gently kneeling to the child's level. The girl actually looked up and Caleb could see that she was trying not to cry,

“Where are your parents?” Caleb asked gently, concerned for the child. He and Lucina passed a look of equal concern. The child that stood before them was thin. The arms were so tiny that they looked like twigs that could snap with the slightest of movements, the poor child's tummy was so bloated that Caleb feared the worst. Any longer and the young one wouldn't make it. He was certain that it was Naga's mercy that had kept the tiny child alive for this long without getting completely sick. He noticed that the child seemed to have hair a shade of blue just like Lucina's but the most surprising thing was that said was bundled into a coat that was several sizes too large for them, it was better suited to someone more Caleb's size than this little child.


Of course the moment that Caleb spoke the little one burst into tears. He was confused but looking at the child he realised that they had a small girl on their hands. Caleb felt an odd pang of sadness, “Hey now, it's ok,” He spoke as gently as he could while Lucina looked confused, “You're safe now, so don't be afraid, no one is going to hurt you.”

And the girl looked up at Caleb directly, “You's look like M-master G-grima,” Caleb flinched in shock with Lucina, “B-but you's different...you's...nicer...are you's daddy's spirit?” Caleb was close to tears. Just who was this child and why did she think he looked like Grima, it seemed though that the girl wasn't done, “Is mummy spirit too? Did I's die?”

“N-no,” Lucina said trying to mask the shock she was feeling. She could see that Caleb was just as uneasy as she was, “We travelled to stop Grima from destroying the world.”

“And we were hoping to make it so that no one will suffer again,” Caleb spoke now, “We want this place to have a happy future and we won't stop until it happens.”

“C-can I's helps?” Of all the things that they expected to hear from the child that was the last thing, “P-please Daddy, p-please Mummy, I's wanna to helps, I's wanna...” tears ran down tiny little cheeks and Caleb looked to Lucina, there was no way he could resit those sweet puppy eyes. The former Exalt nodded,

“Of course little one,” She knelt to the child's level, “We would love you to help...”

The child hugged Lucina enthusiastically, “Yay!” She cried and Caleb was slammed into with a hug as well, “I's be the best he'per 'ver.” her tiny face was burried in Caleb's coat and he saw Lucina look at him guiltily, it seemed that the puppy dog eyes had worked on her too,

“Of course,” Caleb said doing his best to hide his shock, “We'll need to get some water of course and we...” He paused, “We forgot something important.”

“Did's you's?” the girl looked confused,

“We forgot to ask what your name was.” Lucina replied kindly,

“I's...don't knows...” The child frowned, “M-master G-grima always called I's girl.”

“Hmm,” Said Caleb, “How about we call you Marc for now, and then when you want you can choose a name that you like?”

“I's can choose a name?!” The little girl, Marc for now cried out excitedly, “I's can't waits! Umm, whats name should I's have.”

“We'll have plenty of time to find you one.” Lucina replied


And so it was that Marc (for now) joined her sort of parents. When they had gathered the water Lucina had decided to help the young Marc have a bath with Caleb keeping an eye out for danger. The girl was a little shy at first, but soon was splashing about happily in the water once she got used to it. It was rather cute to say the least. And she cleaned up rather surprisingly.


On her right hand was the Mark of Naga much to Lucina's surprise. It meant that the child was definitely of Exalted blood somehow. Perhaps Lucina would have to find out from Naga at some point and she resolved to speak to the Voice of Naga in this time line for answers. Now though she was surprised to find herself bonding with Marc. She saw in the child's left eye the Mark of Grima and knew that Marc was likely related to Caleb as well. And since Lucina had declared her love for the young man she doubtless would come to the same conclusion as him, Grima had done something that didn't make sense.


Caleb was pacing the area trying to think about just how Marc existed. He was confused and thought back to what he'd heard happen from before. A dull ache throbbed as he walked back to where Lucina was helping Marc bathe. Caleb tried to ignore the ache and instead focused on caring for Marc, she needed them after all. Caleb decided that he would accept the child as it seemed that Lucina had as well. If the others accepted her as well then Caleb saw little issue with having the child around. Not only would she have them but she would have the others too.


By the time the small group arrived with the water Caleb could smell the bear meat on the air, he was certain that Marc must be starving, “We're nearly there Marc; would you like me to carry you?” he asked the girl,

“I-i's...” Caleb stopped at once with Lucina concerned for their small charge,

“It's perfectly ok to need help Marc,” Lucina said gently, “Especially since you've been so helpful.”

“O-ok Mummy.” Marc sighed and Caleb adjusted the water skins on his shoulders. Then he lifted the child into his arms with Lucina's help. The girl was clearly very tired,

Don't worry we'll have some nice food to eat soon.” Caleb told the girl, he gave Lucina a look that said, 'we need to talk' and Lucina nodded. She knew what Caleb was saying. Marc yawned tiredly and clung to Caleb. She truly was cute and innocent to what had happened to her. Caleb could only hope that she wouldn't have as many nightmares as Lucina had.


Laurent was the first to see them arrive; concern appeared on his face at the sight of the tiny child in Caleb's arms but he said nothing. Noire was busy cutting up a serving of bear meat to notice the child at first but once she did she shot a questioning look to Lucina who motioned that they would all talk later.


Marc woke to the smell of delicious bear meat and tucked into the serving that her new Mummy had given her. There were new people to meet and her new Daddy was introducing them all to her. She didn't like Nah all that much but the Manakete seemed nice enough. Then there was Noire who was very nice, she was like an aunty to the little one and Marc liked how Noire sometimes sounded funny, especially with her “BLOOD AND THUNDER!” Cries spattered out every so often. That was always fun. Next to be introduced to Marc was Laurent. Laurent was very concerned over Marc's condition but other than that he seemed nice enough. Sometimes Laurent used big words that Marc didn't understand but thankfully she had Daddy to tell her what they meant. All in all Marc decided that her new Daddy was amazing. So was her new Mummy, they said that she could even choose a name that she liked to have for herself. That was hard but she didn't have something to read...speaking of which she'd noticed the strategy book poking out of Daddy's pocket just asking to be read. Marc decided that she would try to get it but Daddy kept moving about, and Marc wasn't sure how to ask...then before she knew it Marc was so sleepy. With another yawn she climbed over towards her Mummy and curled up into the oversized coat Marc's back resting against her Mummy's leg head resting on her arm that was tucked up out of the way. Marc let out a little sigh of contentment, she was relieved to have her parents now. Really relieved that she wouldn't be alone ever again.


“So where is this kid from?” Nah asked after they had finished their meal,

“She's so adorable,” Noire said, “C-caleb.”

Everyone now turned to look at Caleb and he spoke at last, “We weren't the only ones to come back,” He said at last. At first there was sounds of disbelief but then Caleb punched the ground with his left fist, “Damn Grima managed to come back with us! Worse still he's using someone that looks like...like...” But Caleb couldn't bring himself to say it. He really couldn't. Nah froze as did Laurent,

“Like you.” Noire said shakily,

“Possibly.” Lucina said softly aware of the sleeping child,

“What are we going to do then?” Nah said,

We keep trying to stop Grima,” Caleb said, “After all we've come too far to back out now, Naga would not have sent us if there wasn't a chance that we could stop him. Although now that we know that Grima is here too we can be sure that he's going to try everything in his power to make everything happen again. We must meet up with the Shepherds and warn them! We're going to have to find the others, nothing is more important than that right now.

Lucina, I don't know what else I can do, unless we split up, but that would defeat the purpose...”

“We should find the others,” Lucina replied, “We need them. Even if we have to drag Gerome kicking and screaming.”

“Alright then.” Caleb said, their plan was clear now.


Marc thought that the previous night had been a pleasant dream. She expected to hear Master Grima's voice any second now but all she could hear was a gentle voice calling her to wake. She woke with the sudden realisation that she wasn't laying on a threadbare bed, she was in a bedroll. With two other people sleeping beside her. One looked like Master Grima, but he didn't have that same coldness, his expression was gentle and kind, the other looked like her mother. Both had Marc in a hug. It was then that she recalled what happened. These were her new parents. Daddy must have picked her up last night after she'd fallen asleep at Mummy's side. And Mummy must have joined them in keeping Marc safe. Marc didn't know why but she started to cry; she was so happy and couldn't wait to greet the day with her new family.


Edited by TheSilentChloey

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Shadow Tactician Chapter VIII: Lost in Time


Caleb let out a sigh as he looked at Marc, she was just too innocent to be pulled up in all of this. He still couldn't believe that Grima was using a face that was like him. Caleb looked at Lucina and was surprised when he felt her hand take his own. It was what he needed. Lucina's touch soothed him in a way he couldn't describe. It was nice to have her with him. Between them Marc was walking...no skipping about the sandy ground before them. Caleb wished that there was something that he could do. He couldn't stop thinking about Marc's words, “You's look like M-master G-grima...but you's different...you's nicer...” Caleb felt the soft throb of a headache. What he wouldn't give to take back those words. Laurent was on edge, Noire was worried for him and Nah...well Nah was in denial about it. However the words made sense. Today however they had decided that they were going to get some useful supplies. Something that they needed. After all tents would be useful and allow some privacy. Especially since they wouldn't always be able to find natural shelter. Also Caleb felt that Marc deserved at least that much.


Marc skipped about the group happy to hear that they were going to go shopping (or at least that was what Daddy had said). She wondered if Mummy was coming with them. She looked at her parents and noticed that Daddy was holding Mummy's hand. Marc grinned and decided that she would see if the others wanted to play with her. She however had other things in mind. Play time would have to wait.


The town that they arrived in was quiet and Caleb had the feeling that something wasn't right. However he had other things to worry about, “Marc!” He called as the child had run off ahead for a moment. The girl paused and ran towards them. It was a good thing that the child had come to them. She looked sad,

Daddy there was a big bunny over there!” She pointed in the direction of the town centre,

Caleb sighed, “Please don't get too far ahead Marc,” the girl pouted,

We wouldn't be able to forgive ourselves if something were to happen to you,” Lucina added, Marc looked down at her feet. She could hear the faint disappointment in Mummy's and Daddy's voice. It hurt more than any anger.

I's sorry,” the little one sniffled, taken aback when both her parents reached to comfort her,

BLOOD AND THUNDER YOUR SAFETY IS OF UPMOST IMPORTANCE TO US ALL,” Noire made everyone jump a little but she said what the group were thinking. Marc looked at Noire,

Indeed,” Laurent said, “Noire has a valid point,”

I-I do?” Noire stuttered,

Of course Noire,” Caleb replied, “We all do Marc, and truth be told we don't want to see you get hurt ever again,”

There was something in Caleb's tone that had Nah surprised. She never expected him to take the role of father so easily, or seriously. Caleb pet Marc's head, “We'll need to get moving,” Lucina spoke still holding Marc a little, “We should go and check out what Marc saw, together,”

Marc blinked, they were going to go and see the big bunny? She smiled and bounced around the others. Today was going to be interesting.


Yarne flinched. He was alone and somewhat afraid. He'd remembered running through the portal that would lead into the past and then...well he was here. It was so weird to just appear. He could hear voices and at first the frightened Taguel was sure that it was his doom. Upon closer listening he could hear Lucina. With a sigh of relief Yarne headed towards the voices. It would be his only shot at surviving.


Caleb found himself holding Marc's hand with Lucina. It felt...odd to be holding the child's tiny hand in his own. Lucina was holding Marc's other hand and as Caleb looked at Lucina he felt a strong surge of happiness. Yarne was shaking his head as Nah and the others were filling him in on what had happened, Caleb had asked if Yarne knew where the others might be but Yarne had shaken his head. Caleb sighed, they needed to find the others and soon.


The wind howled as the Shepherds travelled through Regna Ferox. Robin was upset but she could have easily tried to brush it off as the fact that Emmeryn wasn't safely in the eastern palace like she should be. All Robin could do was make certain that she did what she could to help the Shepherds. Especially since Chrom and the others had found out that she was with child. Chrom had been concerned but Robin had assured him that she would be fine. At least that was what she wanted them to think. Robin was struggling with it really. She couldn't have imagined that this would happen but she supposed that it was something she would have to come to accept. The child that she carried was inside her now. Maybe she would turn the child against the Grimleal, or try to free it from the dark magic that bound her. Robin heaved a sigh. She would have to work out something.


A week saw the group meet up with another familiar face, Owain had finally joined the group and Caleb could finally breath a little easier again. Marc was with Owain and the young man took his responsibility seriously, “Ha, young maiden I fear not the darkness that threatens to consume me!” Owain said, “For I am the keeper of stories, the Hero of Time and eternal comrade to Caleb the Defier of Darkness shall help protect thee!”

Caleb smiled as Owain entertained young Marc, declaring that she would become a member of the “Great Justice Cabal!” and Marc had been so excited that she turned to Caleb and said, “I's be like Daddy and Mummy?!”

But of course Fair Maiden, your skill to make smiles is most important! We welcome you into our humble mortal fold!”

And Caleb had smiled. At least they were getting along alright.



They travelled through yet another town and this time they were able to get some bed rolls from an Anna. The Anna was surprisingly helpful; something Caleb had not expected. She even gave them some new clothes for Marc that fit her better, although it seemed that Marc was really attached to the oversized coat that she was wearing. Anna luckily enough had a similar looking one so Caleb had suggested that she wear the new coat and they would keep the other one safe until it was the right size. In the time that Marc had travelled with them she'd gone from not so healthy to looking like a different girl. Caleb supposed that it was the fact that she was having enough food now grow. Sure enough the girl was now up to his elbows in the space of a few short weeks. In that time he and the others had tried to reach the Shepherds. They had earned some money as mercenaries but it wasn't much. There was much they needed to help them travel faster but Caleb had agreed with Lucina that they needed to keep things to be as light as possible. So there they were travelling through the deserts of Plegia with only what they needed.


Each member of the group carried their own pack, with Marc being the only one that wasn't weighed down by one. Caleb just couldn't justify the child carrying one and Lucina agreed that they could carry half each of Marc's few things. Laurent was glad to see the child getting stronger by the day. Of course the rest of the group were glad as well because in the time that Marc had been travelling with them she'd become an important member of their little group. A boost that Caleb had felt was needed.


So once they set up camp Lucina had settled Marc down with some food that they'd hunted Caleb was feeling pretty good. In fact he'd not had a headache for three days; it was a good sign he hoped. Marc was content and Owain was happy to tell everyone a story of some sort. A story about a Paladin called Heather funnily enough. Marc was enthralled by the story but she didn't seem to like the name that much. To Caleb it seemed that she was trying to find a name that she wanted. Caleb smiled and set up the bed roll for Marc. Lucina was busy collecting water with Noire. Laurent was reading his tome and Nah was stretched out on her own bed roll. Yarne meanwhile was keeping watch. The Taguel was perfectly happy to take watch and Caleb was equally alright with letting Yarne do it.


There was a stillness in the night air that was pleasant, although the figure was hardly aware of that. No what they wanted was to make sure that they got what they wanted and got out. There was a fire up ahead that made the figure wonder what was going on. A frown crossed their face. Now or never they decided. If it was who they were hoping it was it would mean that their search would be over at last.


With Lucina and Noire's return it was time to change the night watch. Caleb had readied the bed roll that he shared with Lucina. Noire spoke in a low voice with Yarne, too low for Caleb to catch as he pulled his coat off. Lucina came and sat beside him, “We must meet up with the Shepherds soon,” She sighed, “I...I,”

You need to rest Lucy,” Caleb said tenderly pulling her into an embrace, “We both do.”

Heh,” Lucina giggled softly, “Caleb you never cease to amaze me you know that,” She tilted her head and kissed him softly; Caleb's arms slipped slightly to her hips and Lucina felt him shift so that she was able to kiss him more comfortably. She heard a cough and sighed. They would need some privacy she decided, “Although I think we'll need to do something about getting some privacy at least,”

Mmmhum,” Caleb made a noise in agreement and kissed Lucina, much to the collective annoyance of Yarne and Nah. At least Marc was asleep and thus wouldn't be embarrassed by her parents kissing like the rest of their little group seemed to be. Although Owain didn't seem to mind it as much as the rest, “That would be nice, although I doubt that we will for a while,” Caleb simply wanted to enjoy holding Lucina in his arms and Lucina seemed to want to stay there as well. It was pleasant to have a small intimate moment, although Caleb could have done away with the extra set of eyes staring at them. Of course it was then that a familiar face appeared,

Jeez I didn't realise that you two were an item,” Severa grumbled, “But I guess that makes sense,”

Severa!?” Yarne cried in shock,

Well duh, of course it's me,” Severa said flicking one of her long pigtails behind her back, “Seriously since when were you two an item?”

Long enough for him to want to kiss Lucina,” Nah shot back,

Oh great,” Severa rolled her eyes, “At least they're past the unrequited love stage I guess,”

Severa,” Caleb said tiredly, “We don't need the comment please,”

Oh really?” Severa said raising an eyebrow, “I wonder why that is huh? Because you were too noble to let anyone think that gods forbid you had feelings for Lucina for ages,”

Severa...”Caleb gave her warning as he could see that Lucina was mildly uncomfortable,

FINE!” The red head snapped. She however took a seat by the fire and said more gently, “Congrats,” and Caleb knew that was just the way Severa was. He wondered how then she would react to Marc. That would be interesting...and Caleb didn't want to think about it.


So when morning finally came (and not a moment too soon) Marc woke to meet a new member of the group. Of course it was difficult for Caleb and Lucina initially to get the point across that they'd found Marc (and that Lucina had not been pregnant at all yet). It wasn't until Marc revealed that they were much younger than the parents that she knew that Severa decided that Lucina wasn't hiding the fact that Marc was their love child, although the girl's resemblance to them was uncanny. She didn't know what to make of the news that Grima was using a puppet that looked like Caleb but she was angry about it. Caleb knew that it was because it meant that Grima had come into this world and even though she initially didn't want to see Cordelia she didn't want the woman to die again. Doubtless they all wanted to make sure that they parents lived and Grima died. If there was a way to do it they would jump on it and take out Grima once and for all.


Unfortunately Severa came with bad news. She'd heard rumours that Emmeryn was going to be killed by Gangrel and they had to go and stop it. That was what Lucina had said and Caleb had agreed with her. They would have to get there. Then Caleb knew that they would have to make even more certain that they got the warning to Chrom and the Shepherds that their enemy was using a puppet.


The group travelled through an area that made them very much uncomfortable, although Marc didn't understand she knew that there was something that was upsetting them. To her the rock formation was just strange, to the others it seemed to remind them of something that they wanted to forget. Daddy and Mummy especially. They were travelling as fast as they could however there was a horrific sight that awaited them.


Lucina was the first to react, she screamed out in anguish, Caleb cursed; loudly. Owain struggled to even say a word and Marc got the sense that everyone was upset. She simply didn't understand what the pretty blond lady had to do with Grima's return. As far as Marc was concerned it mattered little. However she'd never seen her parents this upset. The brave little girl tried to comfort her parents in the only way she knew how. She held their hands.


Chrom was shaken; he'd just lost an important woman in his life and he couldn't bring himself to get up. Grief pulled him down hard. Lissa was crying and had been for a long time. The prince of Ylisse was just too grief struck to even attempt to comfort his sister. He knew that at least Maribelle was with Lissa. Right now however Chrom was trying not to notice Robin sitting on the end of his bed. He didn't want to face his tactician, “Chrom, I know that your heart is heavy...but for the sake of everyone please...please try to get back your strength,”

Chrom snapped, “WHAT IN THE GODS DO YOU KNOW ABOUT LOSING SOMEONE?!” Chrom yelled at Robin, and Robin spoke in a surprisingly soft tone,

I know how hard it is Chrom...” Robin lifted up her fringe to reveal a scar that made Chrom feel oddly sick, it was clear that Robin wouldn't be able see out of her left eye “I got this trying to save her,”

Then why haven't you seen a healer?!” Chrom demanded, Robin sighed,

This isn't a recent injury Chrom...” The Prince stared at Robin confused, “I got this trying to...” Robin bit back tears as the painful memory surfaced again, “I got this trying to save my own mother from an Ylissean ambush...back when...”

When my father was Exalt,” Chrom prompted and Robin nodded,

I know it hurts but I also know that Emmeryn wouldn't want you to be like this Chrom,”

Chrom heaved a sigh and rested his head into his hands, “I...”

Chrom, at least come and eat, if nothing else,” Robin said gently and Chrom looked at her. What he saw was a concerned expression on her face,

Ugh, alright fine,” Chrom groaned, surprised when Robin pulled out an apple, and gave it to him,

I'm going to be in the mess if you want to talk strategy, and Chrom,” Robin looked at him, “It's perfectly ok to be upset. Don't allow your feelings to bottle up, alright,”

Chrom blinked at Robin, “Uh, th-thanks Robin,” he said, then added sheepishly, “and uh, sorry for going off like that,”

Water under a bridge Chrom,” She replied.


Four weeks after Emmeryn's death had Caleb find out an important piece of information. Namely that Chrom had the Fire Emblem. It was news that had shocked Lucina and the others (Marc didn't understand in the slightest which made her feel a little lost) and it was a small boon to what was a hard blow. Lucina had said rather seriously, “Our future seems to have less of a chance of happening it seems,”

We still have to confirm it but yes,” Caleb responded, “We have a good shot that the Emblem is still with Ylisse. Hopefully this war will end soon,”

Couldn't come sooner you know,” Yarne declared,

But...Emmeryn is...” Nah said sadly.

We do know Nah but Caleb thinks that if Ylisse has the Fire Emblem that we might see a different path to the Ylisse/Plegia war,”

I'm hoping that this will be different Laurent,” Caleb corrected,

Hey Daddy,” Marc spoke up suddenly surprising almost all of them,

Yes Marc?” Caleb said looking to her,

I's thought of a names for mes,” Marc said looking pleased with herself,

You have?!” Caleb said eager to hear what the young one had thought of.

Yup,” Marc said grinning happily, “I's thinks that I's wants to be called...”


Edited by TheSilentChloey

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Shadow Tactician Chapter IX: Reflection of Naga

There was a stillness over Ylisse, the sun rising in the sky did little to indicate what was happening.  Robin had been preparing to something that no Plegian strategist had ever done in the history of Plegia.  She was taking down her king.  A man that she had once vowed to protect with her own life.  It was an unspeakable act of betrayal and Robin didn't know if she could follow it through.  She was however certain that the Grimleal wanted it to happen.  Validar had said that he would become king one day and when he did Grima would come into the world at long last.  That Grima would be awakened at long last.  Robin knew however that was wrong, Validar would need the Fire Emblem which Chrom had.  She realised a small truth, Marth and Kris were right, there was a way to prevent Grima awakening.  She would make sure that happened.  Robin now had a new king to serve and she would rid the world of the old one.  Gangrel would be gone.  Robin would make sure that was done.

Meanwhile Marc was trying to think of the name that she liked.  She frowned as everyone seemed eager to hear what she had to say.  She looked to Caleb helplessly and he realised what had happened, “It slipped away didn't it little one,” He said gently and the small girl nodded and began to sniffle,
“I-I's heard its but i-it's GONE!” Marc cried and Lucina reached to comfort the girl,
“It's alright Marc,” Lucina gently soothed the child, “I'm sure it will come to you and when it does we'll be able to call you that name,”
“I's,” Marc sniffled, “I's heard it befores...when Is was really tiny,”
Caleb looked at Lucina.  They began to wonder what Marc meant but they decided that for now they would find out what was going on.  And then do something they'd been meaning to do for some time now.  After all Lucina knew that making them official was important.  Especially since Ingio wouldn't take a hint and they had to keep him from interfering with them.  Especially since the fool didn't think to draw the line at lovers and did for a married couple.  Perhaps that was why he was spurned by so many women.  Perhaps the ones that he harassed already had a lover and they didn't want him.

The group travelled through a particularly quiet Plegian village on their way towards Ylisse.  Caleb had guessed that the war would be over soon and if they could get back to Ylisse it would be of up most importance.  Marc was starting to put on weight and was glowing with a new level of health.  They all were Caleb noticed, according to Laurent.  Doubtless Laurent would know.  He made sure to check on everyone's health.  As they travelled there was a clear sigh that came from Laurent.  Caleb was about to ask Lucina if she felt that they should stop for the sake of the small child that was bravely keeping up with them.  Lucina had however seemed to pick up on it as well and had called for the group to rest for the moment.  Of course it was then that Yarne was moaning about the heat giving him a stroke and Caleb sighed.  Even though Caleb was technically the weakest member of the group Yarne was the one that whinging almost constantly about how he was going “extinct” and was dying.  Caleb had learned to ignore it a little and did what he thought was right.  It was hardly fair to blame it all on Yarne.  He was the only one of his littler to survive.  But that by no means was a fair reason for him to be so paranoid about everything.

They stopped near a small shop and Lucina had asked Severa and Laurent to see about supplies.  She sat down with the rest of their little group and Caleb sorted out some lunch for them with the help of Nah.  They were all enjoying a brief respite from what was happening.  Marc was deep in thought and it was clear that the little one was thinking about what she had seemingly lost.  The name that she thought of.  Marc ate the food that was given to her and heaved a sigh.  At the very least she was with both her mother and father, Caleb settling down to eat with her and Lucina.  Yarne munched on a carrot despairingly while he was lost in thought.  Severa and Laurent returned with some supplies and ate some lunch as well.  The people of the town were avoiding the little group but it seemed that they were curious.  Not one of the townspeople had seen someone like Lucina, (an Ylissean) with a Plegian travelling companion.  Or several Plegian travelling companions.  Caleb realised.  He, Noire and Marc were all clearly Plegian.  Laurent, Severa and Owain were clearly Ylissean.  Yarne and Nah were not as clearly one or the other so it would be assumed that they were foreigners of some kind.  They were quite the diverse group, even without the total number.

With lunch done and supplies packed it was time for them to travel onwards.  Caleb noticed that Marc seemed to be content holding his hand for the time being.  Yarne had been asked all kinds of questions over lunch that he'd not been expecting.  It seemed that Marc was rather curious about the Taguel and while Yarne didn't mind the child her questions were confusing.  Luckily Caleb had distracted the girl with the promise of a fresh peach for an afternoon snack.  It was a lucky escape indeed.

The border was almost a tense affair until there was a risen skirmish that the group had helped the small remaining force of Pegaus knights.  When it was clear that they meant no harm the knights let the group through to Ylisse.  It was a good thing that they were able to travel onwards towards what was relatively small temple of Naga.  It would be time as far as Lucina was concerned to lay claim to the man that she held so dearly, a man who was always by her side.  She was certain that it was the right thing to do.

Meanwhile Caleb had found someone important.  A young priest that had a very familiar scar on his face and a familiar shade of blond hair, “Hey!  Brady!” Caleb called out to his friend.  The priest jumped and looked up from the book that he'd been reading,
“B-boss?!” The priest smiled, “Gods I can't almost believe m' eyes!  It's great to see ya!” Of course the rest of the people looked confused until the pair shared a handshake, of course what the people around the pair didn't notice was that it was taking all of Brady's strength not to burst into tears at seeing an old friend before him.  Caleb smiled,
“Of course,” He grinned, “Everyone else was looking for you as well.”
“Well ain't that something,” Brady said, “Hang on a sec will ya please Boss, I gotta say some goodbyes and all that,”
“Well Marth said that we were going to stop here a while,” Caleb said and Brady's eyes widened,
“Ya mean sh-she's...”
“Yes,” Caleb answered
“Gods be praised!” Brady smiled, “I'll meet ya later alright?”
“Sure thing,”

Lucina was pleasantly surprised to see that Caleb had found Brady.  She smiled and spoke in a low voice and Caleb tried not to blush.  In fact anyone watching the couple would be a little confused as to what was going on.  Brady arrived just as his sister decided that she wanted to kiss her tactician.  What was the more surprising thing was that Caleb seemed to return said kiss, “What's going on here?” Brady asked and Nah came to his side very quickly,
“Those two are a thing,” Nah said in the least attention drawing way possible,
“Say what?  Luce and Boss?” Brady looked confused then he frowned, “I guess that's been going on a while huh?”
“Yeah it has,” Severa snarked suddenly, then her tone softened, “But they are kind of cute together,” leading Brady to blink in surprise, Severa continued, “Well they did get back at the same time...” and her words left little to Brady's imagination.  He looked from his sister to Caleb who was in that moment slightly blushing.  He was surprised by the small girl that appeared and looked up at him with eyes that were like Caleb's.  She had however a shade of blue hair that Brady was sure was the same as Lucina's.  The young man frowned and the girl looked at him rather innocently,
“I's Marc for now,” The girl said, “until I find a name that I's likes,”
A whole new can of worms opened up right then.

Once everything had been explained to Brady he let out a long sigh.  Caleb had of course felt a teeny bit guilty for situation but Brady understood.  He had after all asked when the pair planned to get married and the likes and it was Lucina's idea that it would happen before Inigo joined the group.  Brady had nodded and pulled some favours with the priests that he was staying with for his sister.  Caleb was surprised that Brady was willing to accept him as a brother, however when the pair got to talk it was clear that Brady was accepting Caleb because according to Brady “Ya make her happy,” and Caleb had to accept that.

So it was that Caleb and Lucina finally managed to get married.  Brady had cried and sniffled, Owain had smiled and declared that the sagas would tell of this most wonderful of moments.  Severa was as prickly as ever but she did smile.  Nah was content to stay by Lucina's side as a Bridesmaid and little Marc held a basket full of flowers.  The girl had done a stellar job making sure that the path her mother walked was covered with the petals and Caleb allowed himself to feel hope.  He smiled and it was all in all a day that he didn't want to forget ever.  He uttered a prayer of thanks to Naga.

Marc didn't understand much of what was going on.  She knew that her parents loved each other very much.  After all Daddy made Mummy smile all the time and she was enjoying the company of her Uncle Brady.  Marc looked across the small temple and spotted something interesting.  It was a statue that had looked familiar to the small child.  She hesitated and headed towards it.  It was so pretty that the little child was in awe, she was surprised when she saw both her Mummy and Daddy come to stand by her side.  It was Daddy that spoke, “This is a statue of the Divine Dragon Naga,” He said to the small child, “she watches over us and helps to keep us safe with all of the strength she possesses,”
“Wow,” Marc gasped in surprise,
“Yes,” Lucina said, “Wow indeed,” and Marc wondered if Naga could hear the people.  She looked at the statue and wondered what name it was that she'd heard in her mind and lost so easily.

The tiny child was just a babe when what was left of her mother murmured into the young one's ears, “...” the little one strained to hear it again, “..na...” the small child was trying her hardest to hear over the sounds of her own heart, “Alana,”
“Alana...” Marc muttered aloud, her parents looked at her surprised,
“Precious one,” Caleb muttered and Lucina felt like crying for some reason,
“Of course she's a precious one,” And Caleb gently wiped the tear that threatened to fall,
“Is that the name you were thinking of little one?” Caleb asked and Marc turned around in surprise,
“I's...” A headache claimed her and she felt the arms of both her parents around her, the pain fading to a mere memory, “Y-yes,” the little one said, “Mummy...Mummy said it when I's was really tiny's,”
“Alana,” Caleb tested and the little one looked at Caleb, “I can see why,” he smiled and Marc (or rather Alana) felt herself sniffling.  She had a name that meant “precious one” and both of her parents seemed to agree that she was a precious one.  She hugged both of her parents as best she could.  Her sniffles being heard by all of the people present.  Each of the future Shepherds smiled in their own way.  It was then that Nah felt a presence that she'd long lost hope in feeling.  A happy presence that was a soft whisper,
So at last the father and mother's hopes are fulfilled, the child at last knows who she is and will know not the pain of Grima's curse,” Nah turned around slightly and noticed the faintest of reflections in the temple's mirror.  It was almost as if Naga had been there, although the Naga that Nah saw was not unlike the Naga that had been in their world.

Later that night Alana was resting alongside her parents.  She was wondering if it was the statue of Naga or Naga's reflection that helped her to remember her name.  She sighed and allowed herself to dream.  Somehow she knew that only time would tell.

Caleb lay awake, mind too worked up to sleep.  He supposed that was normal for a newly wed, or perhaps it was just him.  He glanced over to the sleeping form of Alana in her little bedroll.  She was sleeping soundly with a smile on her face and as Caleb thought about the name a strange realisation came to mind.  Alana was his Grandmother's name.  His maternal grandmother's name.  Caleb sat up in surprise.  His grandmother was known as Grandmaster Alana.  He knew that she was a skilled tactician based on what his mother had told him as a child.  In fact she was one of the few tacticians that wielded Ignus, the blood bound skill that only appeared in specific conditions.  Caleb pulled out his book on skills and raced towards the section on blood skills.  Hesitating he turned to the page containing Ignus and read,
'Few Tacticians have the right blood to learn the skill Ignus.  It is an attacking skill that requires incredible focus to use.  Few tacticians are capable of learning this skill as the user must blur the lines between their Mana and their physical strength.  The result of a successful Ignus is being encased in flames that do not harm the user.  It is much sooner picked up over Rally Spectrum and most tacticians do not bother going further than Ignus,'
Caleb gaped and began to wonder why his mother had Ignus herself.  Was it because she had learn it or inherited it through his grandmother?  Caleb looked at his skills and knew that he didn't have Ignus.  He would have to learn it the hard way.  Lucina didn't have Aether either but she wanted to learn it.  He frowned.  They had to get to that point at the very least.  Caleb set the book down and looked over the sleeping form of Alana and Lucina.  He would do everything in his power to protect them, Caleb decided.  He had do.  It was his duty as a husband and a father, to both his wife and child, even though he's not been the father that sired the child himself.

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Shadow Tactician Chapter X: The Chosen Name


There was a stillness in the air as the Shepherds travelled back to Ylisstol. Robin didn't know how much longer this was going to take but she knew that she wasn't going to be able to go much further on her own like this. Earlier that day Robin had been busying herself with working through the last little details of what was a post war manifest. She had felt guilty about what had happened and had said that it was for the best that she at least did something to help. Her body however in its current state was not helping matters. She was heavily pregnant and for the time being she wasn't even sure that she was going to be of much help. No one really needed a tactician once war was over.


Chrom came to see if Robin was alright. She had insisted on doing something to help and Chrom had let her, only to be somewhat yelled at by Maribelle that the poor woman was in need of a break. However Chrom had suggested that they could see if she needed help and Maribelle had sighed rather loudly, “I'll go and get Lissa then,” She said, “after all we wouldn't want to have her go into labour without someone to help her,” and Chrom heaved a sigh,

I'm sure that Robin would have told us if that were the case, but alright,”


So it was that Chrom found himself visiting Robin in her tent where she was resting in her bedroll going over the manifest of their soldiers and working out who had died and which families need to be sent condolences. She seemed alright, if a little tired and there wasn't anything to suggest that she was in any pain. Indeed she seemed happy that they were back in Ylisse and was relaxed. By the time that Maribelle had arrived Robin was about halfway though the manifest. Chrom had helped a little and he was sitting on a small chair. Maribelle had bought Lissa and for the most part Robin wasn't too concerned. She was busy with the task that Chrom was presently helping her with. Of course she had to ignore the feeling of uneasiness that the child within her had been oddly still. She just chalked it to the child resting within her.


Caleb was tired, he'd spent the entire day working on helping the others put up what was to be their home base. It was out of the way and not that easy to find unless someone was actually looking for it. Lucina had spent the day keeping Caleb completely distracted and he was sure that she was up to something. After all it was his birthday. However he didn't see what the fuss was about. After all he wasn't any different than he was yesterday. However it was clear to Caleb that he should just simply wait and see what was going to happen. He paused and felt like he was missing something important. He sighed and checked another task off his list that Lucina had given him. It was all he could do for the moment.


Robin had felt the wave of pain as the afternoon turned to night. She tried not to show it but Maribelle had a fair guess. Even so the fact that Robin didn't really think that the baby within her was ready to enter the world. How wrong she was.


Lissa had been surprised when Robin suddenly went into labour. She had managed to get the supplies that Maribelle had felt that they might need to help the young woman have her baby and Lissa had wondered what the child would be like. Lon'qu was naturally outside of the tent and Lissa had felt like she wanted to help him as best she could to get rid of his fear of women, as did all of the Shepherds. Lissa returned her attention to poor Robin when the woman let out a low moan of agony. A healing staff wasn't much use; the pain was merely eased and not rid of after all. Lissa had learned how to help a woman in child birth as part of her training as a healer. Tharja had suddenly appeared. She spoke to Robin in Plegian as if also offering to help which Robin seemed to decline. Lissa didn't really understand but Tharja frowned and spoke in Ylissean with much difficulty “She wont let me help with dark magic, but I do know a thing or two about delivering babies,”

Is that so?” Maribelle asked, Tharja looked calm and nodded. She didn't like the fact that there was only two people that were allowed to help Robin and felt that the poor woman needed as much help as possible. Chrom had of course been shooed out with the rest of the Shepherds hovering about asking what had happened. Tharja sighed,

Even as a messenger I suppose,” She took Lissa and Maribelle by surprise but Robin gave word of approval,

Of course,” Robin spoke in Plegian, “Just no dark magic...I don't want to...well...I'm sure you'll understand Tharja,”

I suppose you don't want the possibility of the vessel for Grima? Fine, I won't use the normal magics,” Tharja responded, “you have my word Lady Robin,”

Of course what happened between the two women wasn't understood by the two healers in the tent but it seemed that they had agreed on something. Tharja had turned to head to the entrance of the tent and then turned back. She said something calmly and Robin nodded.


Robin for her part was in a lot of pain. She did her best to not cry out; certain that if she did it wouldn't help the situation. So when she was told that it was time to push, she kept her cries to a minimum. The baby came relatively easily and she was aware that it was a boy. Then she saw the mark. Ice cold dread filled her as the infant was cleaned to prevent infection. Robin almost didn't want to hold him. But she did. It was then that she felt a jolt of déjà vu. However she looked at the infant boy in her arms more closely. He wasn't anything like what had been described as Grima. In fact...it was as Robin had not realised. He was just a normal baby. With that in mind she took a step away from her ancestors and spoke, “Caleb,” the tiny boy didn't seem to notice but did grab her finger. His arms flailed about in a nonsensical fashion and she could see that he was caught up in her bangs. Maribelle and Lissa both stood back as Robin carefully cradled the tiny boy, both were confused as to what Robin had said, but she spoke to them, “His name will be Caleb,” She spoke in Plegian, more to the boy than those present, “May your loyalty be not to Grima, but to the people that truly love you. May you take the course of action that I could not, my son,”


Meanwhile the future version of the baby that had just been born was currently checking off the last item of his list for the day. He'd not seen any of the other children just yet but he did hear an altercation going on. Caleb headed towards it and heard more clearly what was going on.

Fend! How dare you imposter a man of justice and pretend to be him while causing the suffering of people!”

Caleb knew that voice and he ran, “Cynthia! I'm here let me help you!”

Everyone turned as Caleb raced onto the scene, “Caleb! What fortune it is indeed to cross paths with you again,” Cynthia grinned using Plegian, “Can we cut down these scoundrels now?”

Well, we probably should so they don't cause any more trouble, ok?”

OK!” And she pulled out her lance. Caleb gripped his tome and charged into a battle that was going to be really short.


With the imposter cut down Caleb explained to the people what Chrom actually looked like. He added that the real Chrom had the Mark of Naga and that next time if they were uncertain to ask the man to see it. With the little peace made Caleb lead Cynthia back to the others.


Cynthia grinned and said, “Hey Caleb what day is it?”

Cynthia why the sudden chatter in Plegian?”

Because I missed talking in it!” Cynthia sighed, “I miss Dad ya know,

Caleb sighed and replied, “The day is April 19th,” and Cynthia squealed suddenly,

Owah! Happy Birthday Caleb!” Cynthia cried in Ylissean hugging him. Caleb heaved a sigh and smiled. Cynthia was like a little sister to him and Caleb was glad that his “little sister” was here now,

Thanks Cyn,” He replied, “Now let's get back to home base,”



When at last Cynthia and Caleb arrived to the camp Alana set upon them. The child was confused at first about the young pegasus knight and her steed but once Caleb explained that “Aunty Cynthia” would be joining them she calmed down. She lead them both to the “mess” tent and there was a surprise for Caleb. He'd grinned and allowed the others to celebrate. He sort out Lucina knowing that this was somewhat her idea. And he liked it. He also wanted to fill her in on what had happened. As the others gathered and somewhat celebrate the return of another Caleb marked down on his list that they still had Kjelle, Gerome and Inigo to go on their little list. Lucina sighed and Caleb felt that a little kiss would be fine. Lucina had been a little surprised but then she had a feeling that he was being a little sneaky. She smiled and was glad to see that he was happy. It was after all her plan all along. Especially since as Owain had pointed out Caleb had not had a good birthday in a very long time.


Else where a figure sat angry and sullen. Another year without taking the new vessel and the fruit had gone missing. As well as his most preferred puppet. He was fuming and wanted to bring about the destruction of this world. Anger made him tense but he didn't care. This body had become almost useless to him and the damn boy he needed wasn't as alone as he needed the boy to be. With a frown the figure looked over to the company he had at present. He would succeed soon enough. There wasn't failure. Fate would happen as it should. The figure decided that he would have to play with the humans just a little bit. Yes even he needed fun on occasion. And watching the maidens die would be nice, he decided...

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Shadow Tactician Chapter XI: Missing Friends


Caleb lay in the bedroll content for the time being to stay there as he saw little reason to move. Lucina was asleep and he didn't want to wake her. He enjoyed the warmth of her embrace and Caleb felt like he was the happiest man alive. He felt Lucina's steady breathing and that was lulling him back towards sleep. He felt a smile on his face. Not much could beat this feeling. He focused on the warmth that he was surrounded in and nestled closer to Lucina. He didn't want to get up at least not yet. However there was the other issue. That they had to find the others and they only needed three more of their members. Caleb sighed as he felt Lucina's grip tighten ever so slightly. As much as he wanted to try and find the others it just wasn't going to be today. Caleb had known that today at least was going to be the day that he was going to spend with his family. Both the family that shared the tent with him and the family that was undoubtedly waiting for them.


Cynthia was doing her best to help Severa. It was a day where Severa was doing the odd cooking and for some reason there was a quietness about the air that wasn't quite right. Caleb was still in his tent with Lucina and little Alana, it was as far as Cynthia knew a well deserved rest. Besides they had to work out what their next move was and it was clear to Cynthia that they needed time to work it out.


By the time Caleb finally got up it was pretty late however he did feel a little refreshed so that had to count for something. Lucina and Alana both were spending some time together and Caleb could smell Severa's cooking. So he knew that he was in time for some meal. He didn't mind and spotted Owain grinning widely at him. Yarne was over near Nah and it looked like the others were fine, Caleb carefully headed over to see what was going on in their “mess tent” and it was clear that Noire was being unusually happy. Caleb however had more things to worry about like who they were going to try and find next. It was going to be interesting to say the least. He didn't even know where would be the best spot to start looking. The sooner that he found the others the better. Time was of the essence and Grima had to be stopped.


Reparations were hard, Chrom decided as he'd spent yet another day of paperwork that seemed almost never ending. Especially since the war had taken so much out of the people and there was little that could be done to alter the situation. There was some light however. Chrom was sitting at his desk when Robin arrived with her small son in toe. The boy was a gods' send. Chrom smiled at the little toddler. It was hard to believe that he was a year old already, “Helping Mama are we?” Chrom asked the little boy, the boy babbled in response and Robin smiled,

“Well almost helping,” Robin admitted, “He certainly has figured out how to move about on his own that's for sure,”

Little Caleb babbled some more and nearly managed to walk over towards Chrom on his own without falling over, babbling all the while. Some of the babbling almost made sense, some not much sense at all. Chrom waited to see if the boy wanted to be picked up and when it was clear that Caleb was hoping to be picked up, Chrom lifted the boy up. Little giggles and a squeal of delight made both the adults present smile. Chrom found it amusing that he was sort of like the boy's uncle in a way, but then so were all the other men of the Shepherds; though not all of them wanted to hold the toddler, most smiled when they saw him. Of the two royal siblings Lissa was by far the one that picked Caleb up the most. Chrom sometimes did and Maribelle had commented that it was rather nice; she mentioned that Chrom would likely make an amazing father if he was such a good sort of uncle. Robin certainly didn't mind the other Shepherds picking up the toddler; it was her trust in them that allowed anyone near the boy. Tharja had volunteered to be a nurse maid surprisingly enough but Robin had felt better having Caleb get to know all of the Shepherds, not just one or two of them.


Caleb was happy enough to be held by Chrom and Robin was able to start talking about the reports that she'd been given and the suggestions that she had as Ylisse's Grandmaster what they should be doing tactically speaking. Little Caleb had a great time with Chrom in fact the boy seemed to absolutely love it when he was held by anyone of the Shepherds. The little one napped in Chrom's arms and the Prince smiled. Caleb was like a breath of fresh air. He helped to mend wounds that were almost too painful to bare. It was as if the tiny child knew the adults around him needed to smile, and smile the child did. It was infectious truth be told.


Robin noticed that her son had fallen asleep and she carefully took him from Chrom. Then the young mother carried the boy to the nursery that they'd decided to set up for him to help Robin out. She had been very grateful for it and Chrom had felt that it was only fair seeing as how Robin had done her best to keep Ylisse safe. Chrom heaved a sigh and began to wonder what they needed to take out the growing risen threat. He hoped that he could make the world a better place than the one that his own father had left him with as a boy. The Prince heaved a sigh and wondered what it was about Caleb that was reminding him of a certain young man. It was then that Chrom had an uneasy thought. What if Kris was somehow connected to Robin?


The air was still as the night fell around the camp of the Future Shepherds. The day had been a peaceful one and for that Caleb was pleased. They were going to have to travel soon however as there were members that still needed to be found. Caleb and Lucina decided that they would head to Regna Ferox once more at least they hoped that if they went that way that they would find Kjelle, Sully's future daughter. Finding Gerome would require a trip to Valm most likely and Lucina had suggested that they try to keep a bit closer to their parents this time so that they would know what was going on. At least that was what Lucina was hoping would happen. As it was Alana was very much following them and given the growth that she'd done it was clear that the child was going to need some new clothes again. However they would have to get the supplies. Lucina had decided that they would go to earn some funds for their tiny war chest and Caleb had an idea of what to do.


So it was that Caleb, Lucina and the rest of the Future Shepherds were doing some simple tasks for a town in Plegia. It was hard enough to decide what they should do but given that Caleb was able to get the work no one seemed to mind. Alana was happily doing what she could to help.


While they did so Caleb listened out for any rumours that could give them clues as to what was going on. Once they'd finished helping the town they moved onwards to Regna Ferox. As they travelled the weather changed and soon they reached a part of Ferox that was cold. To that end most of them were used to it, but for Caleb shivering away in his coat it was the kind of weather he wished he could forget. He huddled up with Lucina night after night and Lucina wondered why he didn't just use magic to keep himself warm. However Lucina found that Caleb's embrace was rather soothing and decided that she would enjoy it.


Usually of the pair Lucina was the early riser. She couldn't help but feel the need to get up and moving. The sun usually woke her the moment that Lucina felt its rays on her face. Caleb wasn't a morning person and it took a good deal to get him to get up (well except for risen and enemies). It was adorable to see just how cute Caleb could be. In fact Lucina realised that the sun was what had woken her up. Alana was clearly out of bed and Lucina could hear her talking to Laurent about something. The words were muffled and Lucina sighed. Caleb was of course holding her in such a way that getting up wasn't easy. Plus she could hear the steady beat of his heart and that was lulling her back to sleep. However Lucina was certain that they would need to get a move on so she leant up on her arm and was above Caleb, tickling him with her hair. She saw his nose wrinkle slightly and spoke, “Caleb,”

The response she had made it perfectly clear that he was awake. However it seemed that he didn't exactly want to get up. With a sigh he murmured something that Lucina couldn't catch,

“Caleb,” Lucina responded, “I know that you are awake,” She smiled faintly and chuckled, “And I know that we have work to do,”

No we don't,” Caleb replied surprising Lucina with a kiss, “and I don't want to get up yet...” He held Lucina with a tenderness that she was certainly familiar with, having been on the receiving end of it for some time. However there was a subtle edge to it, like Caleb needed her embrace. She felt the slight hint of his desire. Lucina frowned slightly. Why in gods' name he hold back like this? Lucina suddenly realised something and leant in to kiss him. She felt him stiffen slightly in surprise but then he seemed to let out a soft inaudible moan, she wanted more than just an embrace, so too did Caleb. Lucina decided that she would try to at least move things to a slightly more intimate level. For both their sakes.


Of course most of the future Shepherds weren't aware as of yet what was going on between their former Exalt and the young tactician. Alana was busy trying to find out more about Yarne and the taguel found that the child was a lot like Caleb. She certainly seemed to be more interested in the practical affect of Yarne being able to transform into a beast. However the girl was smart to a degree for someone so young. The fact that Alana had grown quite a bit since they found her was also something to note. In fact Yarne was sure that the child had to at the very least be the size of a nine year old child. He'd also heard talk that they were going to have to make their move and soon. Things were not as peaceful as they'd hoped and they needed to find Kjelle and the rest of their group.

Edited by TheSilentChloey

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Shadow Tactician Chapter XII: The Darkness Rising

Caleb didn't entirely know what had started their morning off like this. One minute he was half asleep kissing his wife and the next she was settled over him, kissing him with a fire that quite frankly he was enjoying.


He did however have the slight nagging doubt that if they went there...doubtless there would be a lot of ribbing from some of the others. Severa was the one that came to mind as he thought about it. The former Duchess of Rosanne wasn't one to be trifled with and likely she would be slightly appalled at them for even thinking of such intimacy with Alana around but Caleb was mostly sure that the little one wasn't close enough to know what was going on.  He'd heard the child's voice fade away with Laurent's sounding like they were heading to the “mess tent”.


Even so he did his best not to be too loud, though it was difficult to do as he felt the subtle movements of his wife's body shifting to a slightly more intimate position. He felt her touch light and cautious, the kind of cautious that sort permission of intimacy that Caleb knew that he wanted. However he also knew that he didn't want to force her into any of it. He enjoyed her kisses, and adjusted his body so that she was stably above him, her weight over his hips braced so that he could, (if he tipped his hips to meet hers) enter her, although he wasn't sure that was what she wanted. Even if they were naked as they currently were.


Their clothing had been discarded on the ground and for Caleb there was a subtle fire he had felt before, but had tried to ignore it as best he could. He knew that fire. It made him more acutely aware of his length; it became that bit more sensitive. He felt like he was pushing a bit too much; that they were doing this too soon; however in his state of being slightly dazed and somewhat caught in the moment he couldn't bring himself to say even a word otherwise. The tactician in a drunken like state robbed of his senses barely registered what Lucina was saying, but when her hips tipped and he felt a tight wetness slowly encase his length he couldn't help but moan, his grip tightening on the bed roll a little as he felt pleasure from the motion. Caleb wasn't even aware of the fact that Lucina was still for a moment, but his eyes sort hers as if to ask her if this was what she wanted. Seeking her permission and to perhaps try and tell her he wanted this. He wanted to be like this with her, inside of her; to be one in the only way that they could.


Lucina looked at Caleb; his face was flushed and his breathing was ragged. His knuckles where white as he gripped the bed roll and a low moan escaped him each time that she moved her hips along his length. She felt him within her; a solid fit that made her feel one with him and the twitching that sent shivers of pleasure down her spine that she simply couldn't ignore. She moved slightly and another moan escaped the young tactician. Lucina felt a wave of pleasure that she couldn't explain. She saw her tactician's features twitch with each movement her hips made and his low moans egged her on just a bit. She couldn't help but moan a little with him. She felt the pleasure getting stronger and stronger; progressively increasing in increments that had Caleb's moans raise in their volume even though he desperately tried to keep them as low as possible. It was so hard to concentrate on anything else. All that she knew was the pleasure rising, her Caleb moaning, her own moans and the steady increase of a lack of control.


Caleb felt it. The point before the inevitable fall that came. Heat poured around him, inside of her and the release he felt...it made him feel a different yet equally important need. The need to hold his wife in his arms to tenderly hold her and not let go for a while. He couldn't help but bask in the afterglow of what had happened. Lucina resting on him, rolling to his side as he managed to help her lay beside him again. He absently was reminded of something he'd once learned from some of the more...lewd male Shepherds, particularly a certain brash warrior who tended to forget his axe from time to time, Caleb sighed but the memory took over.


Ya know kid, when it comes to women, ya gonna want to bring ya A-Game,” Vaike said clearly enjoying himself with teasing the eleven year old boy, who for the most part had only been told by tutors about a man's “marital duties”. Caleb had not entirely understood what Vaike was saying but the glare from his mother was hint enough that Vaike was treading dangerous waters, “Ya see, aint no woman gonna take a man that don't know how to have her screaming his name,” Vaike said proudly, only for Robin to growl,

Vaike you say one more word of it...”

Oh phulease,” Vaike shot back at Robin, “Ya know the tutors are talkin' 'bout it right? The kid needs to learn about that,” He grinned, “Besides a woman makes for a fine sheathe,”

Caleb was confused and looked to his mother for an explanation, Robin sighed, “When you're older,” She said leaving no room for arguments, but Vaike wasn't done and Caleb saw the man grin even wider,

Even better than being in a sheath is having ya cherry popped by a woman of skill,” He added, “And even more better is when ya start with ya cherry being popped and then sheathing it,”

Of course Caleb didn't understand a word of it but Robin did and she whacked Vaike with a tome across the back of his head, “Why in gods' name...just don't Vaike!” She yelled at him, “Stop being so crude around a child!”


Caleb felt a low chuckled escape his throat. 'Ah Vaike,' Caleb thought to himself, 'I still don't know how you managed to marry Cherche with a mind like that,' he sighed and realised that there was a subtle cough and he tensed. He listened carefully but the cough wasn't heard again and he sighed. He knew that they had taken a risk but he didn't think they were going to get too caught out. He felt like he needed a break from the tension but he also felt like there was something else he was missing slightly.


Severa was in a mood. Everyone had come to the mess tent except for two individuals whom according to Nah and Yarne were having a “moment”. She gripped about it of course but then Nah had to point out that as far as she was aware they hadn't even had the chance to consummate their relationship yet, so suggested to just leave them be. Of course Laurent had done his best to distract little Alana, but she still wanted her parents after an hour. Severa however decided that she would go and see if they were...decent as she put it. An hour was plenty of time for them to have their lover's embrace although Laurent wasn't so sure it was fair to either of them. The former Duchess would hear no more. She marched up to their tent and said scathingly, “You two had better get up, you're missing lunch,” and heard faint curses from within and what sounded like a scramble to get ready. She then marched back to the mess tent looking a little less angry but a little guilty. She would apologise to them later.


Caleb decided to thank the lucky stars that Severa hadn't come into their tent. He knew what she was like, and the fiery young woman was right to an extent. He sighed as he raced to get dressed with Lucina. Both had a laugh when Caleb had his shirt on backwards. Even funnier to them was Lucina's tunic being lopsided. So by the time they were fully presentable, little Alana had ambushed them and hugged both of them with a fierceness that Caleb knew was tempered with eagerness at being with them. Caleb had to smile a little as he hugged her. Lucina lead the way to the mess tent where Caleb saw the subtle hint of ribbing being held back because of the child in the tent. He sighed, so much for them being subtle about it. There were only two people that he could think of that would have heard any of it and he frowned. Of course they would hear that. He wondered if that was the reason that everyone was looking at them curiously. He sighed grabbed something to eat after thanking Severa and found Lucina sitting across from him with Alana sitting at his side today. She chattered like normal and Caleb found himself smiling just a little. Her curiosity was infectious and he soon found himself talking about battle tactics and strategies. Everyone was fine and were as talkative as normal. So perhaps the risk was worth it, Caleb decided, but the next time that they decided to be intimate he would have to make damn certain that no one caught wind of it. Getting that close to being caught wasn't a good thing.


Robin sighed as she felt the familiar weight of a small body crawling into bed with her. This was a strange feeling to say the least with a small toddler in her bed. Hard to believe that he was almost two years old. She sighed as moonlight caught the sleeping form of the boy, his eyes closed like a little angel in her bed. She couldn't even begin to wrap her head around the fact that her son was supposed to be Grima, it was like trying to imagine Validar as a loving husband, the image just didn't fit in her head. It was a clash of what she had known and what she had wished to be true that just didn't work. Robin sighed and looked over the sleeping toddler again with a strange feeling hitting her chest.


Grima paced the length of the sumptuous room in agitation. He'd found the blue haired puppet just in time before his magic would fail to preserve her. But that wasn't what had him so frustrated. The fruit that should have been with her was gone and the pent up energy was making him angry. With a frown he looked at the blue haired puppet. He needed her now. His dark magic flowed from his body, to hell with it. He wanted to vent some of his frustration and the puppet was ideal. For some reason this puppet was the only one that he could use to quench the need to have his vessel filled with the pleasure of sex. Why he seemed drawn to the dark royal blue hair Grima did not know; perhaps it was partly due to his host's feelings towards the puppet, perhaps it was the thought of taking one marked by Naga in such a primal way; rendering himself spent with juices flowing over whatever surface on which he happened to take her upon. Her juices and the juices from his host's body melding in a way that just served to make Grima smirk with satisfaction thinking about it.


Already the body was responding to the line of thought and the puppet was in the perfect position for him. He wanted to take her and take her he would if Validar were to hurry up and give him what he wanted. Honestly he should have made the white haired puppet fetch him the sacrifice. However Grima wanted some time alone with his blue haired puppet, time that Validar didn't seem to understand as Grima could hear the fool outside the door. Grima snapped his fingers she moved and behind the curtain and waited for the fool to enter and when he did, Grima's eyes were glowing crimson as his anger had threatened to reach boiling point,


Master Grima,” Validar bowed and spoke silkily, “We have bought the requested...”

Then leave it here!” Grima snapped in response, and Validar flinched as Grima's magic grew more pronounced,

O-of course,” Validar said hastily standing to bring to Grima what he'd demanded. A maiden to drain of her life force so that he could maintain his magical power. The girl that was dragged in was a young cleric chained so that she couldn't fight back. Her hands bound to her neck and her legs spread apart. Grima looked at the girl with indifference while she struggled against the chains fear evident for all to see. Grima motioned for Validar to leave. The man backed away quickly and a female sorcerer said before they turned to leave,

Forgive us Master Grima, she is too weak and-”

SILENCE!” Grima roared, and the Sorceress flinched trying not to show how disappointed she was with herself or her son for bringing the weak maiden to Grima even though she was the only one they had been able to procure for him that matched his request, “You will bring me another,” He growled raising his right hand, the maiden finally realised what was going on and started to scream,

P-please...h-have m-mercy I don't want t-” She started to cry as Grima silenced her with a snap of his fingers, dark magic stealing away her voice. She would need to be broken first and he motioned for the pair to leave. They had their orders and he made it clear that they were not to disturb him. Validar and the Sorceress left and closed the door behind them as Grima had given them orders to bring him another sacrifice to make into a risen. This time they would succeed and bring Grima what he wanted. This time they would bring him a powerful sacrifice.


With that distraction dispensed with he snapped his fingers and his puppet came out from behind the curtains. He then took off the cleric's headdress to see if she had the desired hair colour and grinned. She would be added to his puppets but he turned his attention to his first call of business.  Now he would do what had been denied from him the moment he'd entered this world. He made his puppet lay upon the sumptuous bed and took her with a desire that had him thrusting into her violently. He filled his puppet with his juices until he was spent. Then when he regained his energy he would break the cleric next.


Caleb gasped in pain as he fell out of the bedroll he shared with Lucina. Uncertain as to what woke him he gripped his head resting it between his knees. Lucina was soundly asleep and Caleb sat for a few more minutes. The cold air was biting him but he couldn't sleep. He rose to check on Alana and saw that she was sleeping peacefully. It was a relief. He let out a low groan and made his way outside feeling the all to familiar need to relieve his bladder. The cold annoyed him and he didn't like being exposed to it more than needed. He tried to make it as short as possible and sighed when he was finally done. He shifted his clothing to make sure that he was straightened up and then turned towards his tent wondering what had woken him in the first place. He sighed and crawled back into the bedroll, sinking into the warmth he'd not wanted to leave.

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Shadow Tactician Chapter XIII: Heart of the Ghost Town


There was a stillness in the air as the future Shepherds walked through the snow and ice. Caleb was miserable but given that it was cold, it was to be expected. He knew that Lucina wasn't enjoying the cold either but they had to follow up the lead that they had only just got. A woman had told them that a friend of hers was out for a fight and Lucina declared rather calmly that they would travel to where the woman was fighting and make sure that she wasn't killed. Caleb assessed the situation and came up with their strategy. It was clear that they had to cut down all of the rogues in the building in order to save the young woman, who he was pretty sure was Kjelle. Caleb and Lucina had all of the future Shepherds deployed for the mission. Alana was back with the lady they had just left and Caleb was already feeling uneasy about it as he'd not wanted to leave her behind but he ultimately knew for her safety he had to.


He made certain to take out as much of the men in their way as possible, Lucina joining him in the fight. They managed to get to the door and Caleb quickly tried to get it open. He cursed, “It's locked,” He growled, “Lucy cover me!”

R-right.” Lucina responded as the rest of the future Shepherds took care of the reinforcements. Caleb pulled out the closest thing he had to a lock pick and got to work. Thank gods he'd been smart enough to learn the skill Locktouch. It saved them having to worry too much and given that Yarne also knew how to deal with locks as well it was a good thing. They had yet to get Kjelle and it was almost too dangerous for them to get her. Caleb finally got the door open as Kjelle was beginning to round on the man that was the cause of the present mess. Caleb and the others ran towards her before she could get a move to take out the archers that were there,

Kjelle!” Lucina cried,

Huh?! Lucina?! Caleb?!” She turned and they ran over to her,

Thank gods!” Lucina heaved a sigh of relief, “We heard that this man uses underhanded tactics and came to deal with the rabble for you so you can focus on your duel.”

Kjelle laughed, “I see, thank you.”

No problem,” Caleb smiled at her, “We're just about done.”

Hey, lemme back Kjelle up!” Yarne called running over to them, “I won't let you down.”

Fine if you insist Yarne, don't get in my way.”

I won't.” Yarne said and Caleb sighed. Those two were always the same. He couldn't get why of all people that would help Kjelle it would be Yarne. He turned his attention to the incoming archers,

You ready Lucy?” Caleb spoke,

Yes,” Lucina replied gripping her Falchion tightly, “Ready when you are my love.”

Caleb blushed violently and said, “R-right, then let's take them down!” And took aim at the nearest archer, “THORON!” The archer fell before he even had time to draw his bow. Caleb was still blushing afterwards.


And then he was all like 'THORON' and they were all like 'argh' and we were all like 'whoa',” Owain grinned regaling everyone with the events that had happened, “And of course let us not forget the fair maiden Kjelle cut down the soulless black-hearted murderer and stopped him dead in his tracks with her amazing secret technique.”

The woman was so relieved that Kjelle had survived that she was more than happy to host the future Shepherds for the night...although she was hoping that they would stay for a while longer she noticed that they seemed to have some kind of mission that they had to fulfil apparently and she decided that she would do what she could to help them. After all they did avenge her lost husband.


Grima sat on the edge of the sumptuous bed lost in his own thoughts. Beside him was his favourite puppet. The silent presence was a relief that he didn't think was possible. How he'd missed her. Her scent was a fragrance that was pleasing to him and he sighed. Losing her was too much. With a sigh he waited for the white haired puppet to come with sustenance and absently he reached for her. His hand pulling her slightly closer to him. He had been so close to losing her forever and that thought alone made him furious. He trembled with emotions that he'd never had to experience before. It didn't make sense. He pulled the puppet close and for not the first time touched her. He felt the emotions boil over and pressed her close to his chest. Why on earth was he crying? His grip tightened on the puppet as he tried to get himself back under control. His damn host was the cause Grima's current condition of that he was certain. But for the moment he let himself feel what his host was feeling, burying his nose in his puppet's hair, drawing her soothing scent into him to the point of intoxication. Right now all he wanted was her. And if they so much as disturbed him this time...he would make it painfully clear of his displeasure. He wanted oddly enough to be more...gentle than the last time. Perhaps it was his host getting to him, or perhaps it was because he'd had his fill and this was more like comfort sex than the normal sex that he had with his puppet. Grima didn't know. The more likely reason was comfort but he did not want to think that it was that. He reached to tip her onto her back, consequences be damned he would make himself intoxicated with her scent. His fingers brushed her thighs, opening them as he trailed them up her leg. He wanted nothing more in that moment than to have some time for this. He could hear the approach however of footsteps. High heeled boots if he were not mistaken. He let out a low annoyed grunt but made no move to cease his actions. He mentally goaded the wearer of the boots to walk in. He would bring them a world of pain if they dared. The boots came to a stop and he had the puppet resting on his lap, not the usual way to take her but he wondered abesntly if the result would be the same. The boots clacked again and he decided that enough time had been wasted and slipped his puppet into a position to take her in this new method. It certainly felt little different than normal; Grima bracing as his puppets hips moved along his length. It was reassuring for him. The door almost opened when a silken voice said, "Come now Aversa, must you put your nose where it does not belong? Master Grima said that he did not wish to be disturbed. No one would notice if you went missing girl." Grima allowed a wolfish grin on his face pushing the puppet to moved faster, harder as he planned what he would do if Aversa did indeed decide to step into the room. She had a decent set of breasts although she paled in comparison to his puppet. Still a little fun couldn't hurt. He felt the warmth as he came. His puppet was where he could hold her. He felt content. And Aversa didn't enter the room, not that Grima cared as he still had that cute little cleric to have fun with next.


Caleb unleashed a yawn as he sat up trying to work out what he had to do. From what he'd heard the woman that they were staying with wasn't aware of a war with Valm but she guessed that it was possible to say the least. If not for the fact that she was sneaking glances at them every so often Caleb would have found it almost peaceful to work on strategies where he was but...even he had his limits. With a sigh he walked out to where Laurent was standing guard with Kjelle,

Good eve, Caleb,” Laurent spoke levelly, “There has been no trouble of late.”

Good,” The tactician replied running a hand through his hair, “That's good.” He then pulled his hood up to keep the cold off him a little more. Shivering a little Caleb pulled his hands into his sleeves and sighed,

Something up?” Kjelle said after a while tilting her head as she did so and Caleb sighed,

We need to get to the Port Regna,” Caleb said at last stomping his feet in an effort to stay the cold without resorting to magic as Laurent was currently doing. He rubbed his palms together, “Or get to the capital of the west,” Caleb said looking over the snowfall beyond the shelter where he was standing, “We're going to leave at first light.”

But what about...?” Kjelle began then stopped,

It's what Lucina wanted,” Caleb said quietly, “Yarne and Nah will take on the next watch, ok.”

Alright.” Kjelle frowned,

Trust me, we're going to be fine.”

If you say so.” Kjelle sighed,

Just try to get some rest Kjelle,” Caleb said kindly, “You were injured in that fight after all and I don't want one of my best fighters to be out of action.”

Yessir,” Kjelle said saluting the tactician with a smile. She couldn't help but feel that Caleb was being too nice to her sometimes, “We'll keep an eye out for trouble in the meantime.”

Thank you,” Caleb lowered his head, “I wonder where the others are...?”

Yes, I quite wonder as well,” Laurent responded, “Niether Inigo nor Gerome seem to be present here...should we...?”

Not yet Laurent,” Caleb replied stomping his feet again, “We'll need to get in the Shepherds' shadow then we should be able to make it to search Valentia,” Caleb shivered again, “Dear Naga, please let us find them soon.”

Kjelle looked at her lance then turned her attention to the snowfield beyond them. She frowned. Inigo she could do without, Gerome though...she sighed, both were her comrades and she decided that she would do her best to help them be found. She really didn't want to think of another death happening.


Caleb shivered as they travelled. He grit his teeth concerned for little Alana. She was being quite brave keeping up with them but Caleb knew that she wouldn't last much longer, he spoke to Lucina, “We need to find somewhere to get out of the cold.”

Caleb what is it?” Lucina asked concerned,

Alana...she's not coping and I don't think she knows how to use fire magic yet.”

Lucina turned to see their daughter shivering in a snowdrift, “Everyone! We need to find a place to set up camp immediately.”

The rest of the future Shepherds stopped and Laurent spoke, “According to the map we're not far from a suitable camp site,” Caleb turned to face the mage who was holding the map with rigid hands, cold no doubt about it,

Laurent,” Caleb spoke kindly, “I know that you're sure of where would be a good spot but some of us might not make it that far,” Caleb came to stand by Alana's side, “We have to find a place that isn't too hard to reach.”

Hmm, unless we...”

I...I'm...not...sure...we're...going...to...make...it,” Cynthia said teeth chattering, “Love....bird...is...cold...too.

All the more reason to find a place now.” Caleb emphasised. He looked out beyond them and raised his right hand, fire erupted from his palm surrounding the group. Lovebird let out a grateful whinny and to their surprise Caleb's magic revealed a path. Alana stayed close to her father for the moment and the future Shepherds followed the path Caleb and Laurent clearing it with fire magic. They eventually came to a village to their surprise. It was empty and looked to be abandoned. Caleb noticed upon closer inspection the buildings were very run down. The place had been abandoned for quite some time. However he knew that for the most part, they could handle it. Lucina was the one that eventually spoke,

Alright everyone, we need to get to work,” She spoke calmly and clearly, “find what materials we can use and we'll patch up some of the buildings if we can. Anything we can't use will be allotted to use for fire.”


Caleb walked around the village making note of the buildings that were the easiest to fix and those that they would have to pull down. He checked inside and outside; the houses were clearly all one level. He then came to what might have passed for an inn and noticed that it seemed to be the most structurally sound of the buildings. It had two floors and Caleb went to report to Lucina. The others had found various odds and ends, things left behind that people couldn't take with them. There were some tools that they could work with and the others listened as Caleb explained what he'd found in his search area. Lucina gave a thoughtful look, “Alright, I suppose our best bet is the large building that Caleb found,” She said, “It will be enough to keep us sheltered if we have enough to patch it up.”

And so it was that they were patching up a very run-down inn. Once it was patched up it was actually quite nice. Alana was bundled into her bed roll over near the fireplace while the others focused on locating more supplies. There was some food that was pretty frozen that they could use. Caleb and Laurent had found some fire tomes of all things and made use of them cooking up the food that they needed for the time being. Alana ate her share and then fell asleep while Caleb and Lucina held a slight meeting with the others.


The winds howled over snowfields dumping more snow over the landscape. It was hard for anyone to travel without getting cold Robin had to wonder if there people were lying when they said that an abandoned village had ghosts running around it. With a sigh she continued with the Shepherds travelling to Port Regna. The journey was tough. Robin was uncomfortable with leaving her two year old son behind. Chrom and Maribelle were both clearly uneasy about leaving their infant Lucina at the castle as well. She found herself talking with Maribelle, the later having reasoned that both of their children would be fine. Of course Robin could see that it was taking all of Maribelle's self control not to fret over the children and Robin decided that she would try and help as much as possible. Because she missed her child as well.


Three weeks saw Caleb and the others travel through some of the coldest areas Regna Ferox had to offer. Alana had to be bundled up and practically carried as they travelled as the girl was still too small to not be affected by the cold. Caleb carried his small daughter across some of the roughest terrain and was glad that they'd decided to try and take each leg of their trip into bite sized pieces. Caleb found that it was easier to deal with it if the trip was kept short and they found shelter quickly. Failing that they hunted for anything that might help them. They didn't find much but at least they were getting what they needed. It was hard to say how much time had passed as they made haste to get to Port Regna. Caleb remembered the stories of the war; that his mother had told him when he was old enough to start learning battle tactics and she tried to get the best possible outcome. It was hard and Caleb was left with a very bitter taste at the thought of those they were lost. Even so he had work to do. Finding the Shepherds were of course the most important thing, Caleb knew that they had to help where they could and if possible get to do what they could to help.


They made it to Port Regna and the town was in shambles. Caleb knew however that they had to get to Carrion Isle. This time they had to get to a safe point. Lucina managed to talk to the captain that would take the Shepherds across and he agreed to let then travel with the Shepherds. Caleb was glad he'd thought to say they were "new recruits" it was pretty close to the truth anyway and they needed to get to the Isle to keep an eye on the Shepherds...Lucina had done what she could at any rate.


As they got on board, Caleb did his best not to wonder if they were off. He spent his time close to Lucina and Alana; time he was enjoying. If they were not on the fairy boat to Carrion Isle he would have found it more so. Poor Alana was ill and he and Lucina did what they could to keep her from being too sick. They did for the most part keep relatively out of sight.


The boat ride was a short one. Which Caleb was grateful for. He allowed hiself some time to stretch as they kept close enough to the Shepherds that they were apart of the escorting troops. So far they had not been seen by Chrom or the main part of the miltia. It was a good start. Caleb watched as Lucina kept to his side, Alana keeping near her parents. They came to a halt not far from a building that gave Caleb the creeps. He was surprised when only Chrom, his mother and Frederick went to enter the building...without troops. Caleb frowned and Lucina grabbed his arm, "No Caleb," she said softly, "they will be fine.”

"Lucy...I know it's just...something doesn't feel right." Caleb said quietly and there was an air of silence.


Three hours passed before Caleb saw the three return and he nudged Lucina. She looked at them and frowned, "Did something happen?" She asked softly

"I'd be willing to bet something did," Caleb replied and the others looked to them, "We hang back for now," Caleb said, "we can't afford to get too close."


Later that night the Future Shepherds had a meeting. Caleb had felt his head ache to the point that he could barely walk and it was starting to get concerning. Lucina and the others were worried as it could very well mean that there could be risen. Lucina didn't know what to do but she realised they had to alert the Shepherds. They went to move off to alert Chrom when a yell sounded, and there was a call for anyone who could fight and carried weapons to prepare to fight. Caleb looked grim, "Risen," he said sharply and Lucina nodded. "We need to move now!"


The fighting was seriously not welcome as Caleb and Lucina used the fight to try and reach their parents. Laurent kept Alana safe for them but it took all of Caleb's concentration to fight. He made certain to have Lucina backed up, the risen were not playing fair. To his surprise Lucina managed to use Aether a couple of times and he managed to use Ignus, though how was a mystery to him. He frowned and realised that the skills had surfaced. Which meant they had inherited them. Lucina had Dual Support Plus and Caleb checked his own. Ignus and Vengeance. He frowned and the realised that he needed to focus. He guided Lucina and the others as best he could keeping in line with his mother's strategy as much as possible. The Future Shepherds however fought with a cohesion that the Shepherds just didn't. Chrom and Maribelle were fighting together and that was all good and well but Caleb was sure that they were like it before the war. With a groan he did what he could to make it seem that they were following Robin's orders. He was almost close enough to Chrom and Maribelle as well as his own mother. And then there were reinforcements. Caleb had the Future Shepherds immediately deal with them as quickly as possible and before long they were back on track. Caleb managed to get to Chrom and Robin just as they ended the fight. He and Lucina both came to talk to their parents jointly when,

"Chrom look out!" Robin cried,

"Father no!" Lucina cried. However Chrom wasn't the only one in danger,

"Mother look out!" Caleb cried leaping to protect her from a second risen. Lucina blocked the risen assassin while Caleb blocked the Sorcerer that attacked Robin. Both of them heaved a sigh of relief only to have both Chrom and Robin look at them confused. Caleb looked at Lucina and she winced. He sighed, "We need to talk...privately.” And Robin frowned

"That we do.” said the tactician.


So it was that Chrom and Robin stood in a clearing with Marth and Kris, the pair exchanged looks with one another and Marth sighed, "I don't even know where to begin.” she said and Robin looked at Chrom,

"We already know that you both aren't Marth and Kris but we have little else to call you,” Chrom said looking at the pair, "however we won't ask you to reveal anything you don't want to.”

Kris spoke, "I suppose the truth would be best, don't you think Lucina?"

Chrom felt his jaw drop slightly and then "Marth" nodded, "Of course Caleb," he and Robin exchanged a shocked look and the young woman sighed, "Look closely and all will be made clear."


Chrom watched as 'Marth' came and stood before him and fully looked him in the eye. At first his didn't notice but then he looked at her properly, "Th-that's the..." if Chrom's jaw could drop further it would have as it was he came to a realisation, "Lucina..." he gulped and then he turned to 'Kris' and the young man sighed,

"She is the future version of your child in the palace.” 'Kris' said,

"And you?" Robin asked the young man. He sighed and rolled back his sleeve. Chrom wondered what he was doing but then he exposed his right hand and Robin went white, "The...Mark of Grima...it can't be...Caleb..." then Robin looked sad, "you deserve more from me than a coat and a world of troubles." Chrom could see Caleb bite his bottom lip and tears welling in his eyes. Lucina was close to tears as well and Chrom gently brushed back the one that had spilled over. Lucina lost all control and cried

"Father!" And it set Caleb off, although he didn't crash into his mother as Lucina had half crashed into Chrom he saw Robin pull the young man into a hug.

"M-mother..." Caleb cried softly and Robin pat the boy's back.


After a while Lucina sniffled and Robin let go of Caleb to reveal that for the time being at least, he'd calmed, "Better now you two?" Chrom asked,

"I'm so sorry," Lucina said looking guilty, "it all came back at once.”

"I still find it hard to believe," Robin admitted, "And yet..." she wiped her son's face and had a smile on her face, "the proof is before us." Chrom chuckled and Robin rolled her eyes, "Don't you start...Maribelle is going to have to have the truth of the matter explained sooner rather than later you know Chrom. With them in this state..."

"People could get the wrong idea." Caleb finished for his mother, "GODS DAMN IT WHY DID I NOT THINK OF THAT!"

"Caleb," Lucina gripped his arm and he sighed, "We just have to tell the truth.”

"Yeah and get ribbing from the others," he shot back with a sigh, "I am so not ready for that one." And Lucina winced, but she didn't let go of his arm which made Robin raise her eyebrows. She whispered to Chrom and he gaped at her. He didn't get to retort as Maribelle arrived and she looked less than happy.


Half an hour later and Caleb was unsure if they'd made the right choice. They had of course managed to cause enough trouble with Maribelle (which Caleb had to admit was the last thing that he intended to have happen) as she'd been furious at first that Chrom was "cheating" on her and Caleb had explained the situation to her. Suffice to say Maribelle was eventually calmed down. Lissa and Sumia both arrived as Lucina had a moment with Maribelle and Caleb noticed his mother kept wanting to hug him. It was nice he supposed but it was slightly embarrassing for him as well. Then of course the others arrived and Caleb knew there was some ribbing hiding.


So it was that Lucina and Caleb were in the strategy tent with Alana and Robin. Brady was having his turn with Chrom and Maribelle and Caleb wanted his mother to meet Alana. It wasn't hard to see the initial shock on Robin's face. But the little girl soon had her grandmother warm up to her. Robin had suggested that Caleb be her assistant for the up coming war, which he accepted. She then asked him in Plegian about why Lucina was with him and he sighed, "Lucy, help...mother wants to know why you're...mmmph...” Which led Robin to gape in shock,

"Because we're married dear.” Lucina replied casually and Caleb went bright red and coughed,

"I suppose that's one way to tell her..."

And then there was a rapid fire in Plegian. Which Caleb ignored. He knew the gist of it however. And Lucina sighed, "Was that too forward?" She asked,

"No," Caleb replied, "She's just not happy that I, a tactician married his commander." And Lucina chuckled,

"Why is that a problem?" Lucina asked, "We're hardly shirking our duties and I feel we work better together than we do apart.”

"I'm not going to argue with that.” Caleb said calmly and Robin sighed. She had her work cut out for her.


The next morning saw the Shepherds return to Port Regna and Robin was in a state of shock. She couldn't believe that she was a grandmother...or that her son was a married man. She noticed that he was a very gentle husband, a far cry from his own father. He frequently did little things that just didn't at first make sense. Then after a while Robin began to understand the pattern. Caleb would without fail do what he could to make Lucina happy. He often spent time with her when he wasn't doing strategies or having some down time to himself or training Alana. Between Lucina and Caleb little Alana was learning swords and tomes. Robin witnessed herself that Caleb was teaching the girl wind magic. Robin also noticed that some of the other Shepherds (particularly the ones that joined with Caleb and Lucina) sort Caleb out for their problems. Yarne was one such Shepherd and while Robin was unsure who his father was as she didn't have a chance to see Panne.


Life with the Shepherds was interesting, Caleb thought. They were staying in a proper bedroom. He lay on the bed tired but unable to sleep. Lucina wasn't there and he could feel a steady and annoying heat. He didn't want to have to deal with it. He heard the sound of footsteps and voices from the bed and didn't bother getting up. The door opened and Lucina came in and closed it quickly and locked it. Caleb sat up, "Something the matter love?" He asked and Lucina came over to the bed and half flopped beside him,

"Remind me next time not to tell my mother that we're married."

"Why Lucy?" Caleb asked concerned,

"She wouldn't stop complaining about us." Lucina said shortly

"Ah...I see.” Caleb winced

"I just...can't stand it when she's like that." Lucina sat up and began to undress and Caleb heard yelling on the other side of the door.

"Surely she'll get used to it," Caleb sighed, "maybe she needs time.”

"No," Lucina replied removing her tunic and Caleb tried not to let his mind run with the thoughts that were in his head as he beheld Lucina in her small clothes. The fire grew a bit stronger and he groaned, "What about you?" Lucina looked worried as she came to sit directly on his lap. Caleb reached to hug her and spoke calmly,

"My mother came to terms with us fairly easily, and Chrom doesn't seem to mind.”

"Caleb," Lucina gave him a stern look and Caleb realised that she could feel the tent that was pitched, "I wasn't talking about that..." and he sighed. He had an extremely vivid dream where Lucina was sitting on him in her exact position. He could already feel his judgement slipping and struggled to maintain control as he didn't need to go there now. He sighed

"I don't want to be a nuisance..." he said blushing violently, and Lucina sighed.

"Caleb, if you need it-"

He held her and sighed, "Lucy...are you sure about this? I don't want to impose..."

"I am sure about this.” Lucina nodded, then she gave him a soft kiss. Caleb had to at least make it even and his shirt fell to the ground. Then he returned to kissing his wife. His pants joined the shirt and he was in his small clothes. The fire grew stronger as Lucina pressed against him; kissing him and Caleb felt an odd sense of relief, that it would be quelled soon. He almost wanted to push the issue but he tempered it. It would not do to be so impatient. He felt his small clothes fall and Lucina's hands beckoning him to keep moving towards their bed, an unspoken requested that Caleb was more than happy to obey. He wasn't surprised when Lucina removed her small clothes and scooted up on to the bed. He joined her and somehow ended up with her underneath him; her legs on either side of his, he felt the selfsame heat from the first time that they had consummated their marriage and he knew that his senses were being robbed. Caleb felt Lucina gently guide him into her and let out a low moan that he'd not realised he'd been holding in as the wetness encased his length for the second time. It was difficult for him to maintain some degree of control. He didn't want to rush her. He felt far better keeping it slow and steady despite the itch he wanted to scratch. The fire and heat burned and Caleb instead focused on a steady rhythm. Despite his body's scream of protest. He moaned. Yet he still needed control even though his body was screaming for more relief. He moved slowly keeping a steady pace savouring the feeling along his length as he pressed himself in; then drew out. Lucina let out low moans as he did so, seemingly enjoying the feeling of him inside of her like this. He was not quite ready for what was next. Lucina let out a low moan, and Caleb went to stop. She however gripped his shoulders and pleaded with him not to stop, to go harder and faster. Caleb let go of his control, obeying her plea.


It wan then that Caleb felt himself enter a state of euphoria that only matched their consummation of their marriage, a feeling he wanted Lucina to have as much as possible. He was in a position that he'd not realised was actually increasing the pleasure that he was feeling. He might not have been aware of it but Lucina was...she had asked Sully for advice and the red armoured cavalier had been surprised, she did however understand that Lucina was not game to ask her mother; and Sully was a married woman as well. So she had dispensed some welcome advice for her.

"I'm surprised that you're asking me, but personally try having your husband on top if you haven't already," Sully said with a grin, "he might like it that way.”

"I see.” Lucina had blushed a little but she thanked Sully all the same.


Caleb for his part tried to keep his moans contained but it was difficult to say the least. He felt like he was close to that edge; the fall he knew wouldn't be that far away. He could hear Lucina's hitched breathing and low gasps of pleasure. Caleb allowed himself to fall and felt a warmth as they both fell into the pleasure. Lucina braced him as he drew out and laid beside her. His breathing was slightly rapid his heart still pounding but the fire had died down. He heaved a small sigh of relief and nestled close to her. He was slightly tired and welcomed her embrace.


Maribelle frowned as Robin confirmed what Lucina and Caleb had told them. It listed the pair as married and Maribelle did not understand, "Surely this is strange to you as well Darling?" She asked Robin and the tactician sighed

"I try not to think of it as strange, after all Caleb is a man and Lucina is a woman after all.” Robin replied and Lissa arrived,

"You might not want to go near their room for a while," The young war cleric giggled, "Who knew he was so good at pleasing a lady."

"WHAT?!" Maribelle cried shocked,

"Seriously Robin, what is the norm for Plegian men in the bedroom?"

Robin went red then said quietly, "I wouldn't know...my...uh...husband wasn't the nicest man in the world."

"Oh," Lissa said and Maribelle was still red,

"Lissa Darling that is hardly..."

Then there was a sigh from Robin. "Well I would agree with Maribelle.”

"Fine..." Lissa sighed but the mischievous grin was still on her face, "though I still wanna know." she said with a grin.


There was a warmth that Lucina welcomed, she rested with Caleb, resting on his chest listening to his heart beat. It had calmed quite a bit and was soothingly lulling her to sleep. She allowed herself to fall eyes closed and relaxed. They could afford to relax now. Their mission was still important and Lucina knew that. She just wanted to be a little selfish for once and enjoy Caleb's embrace.

Edited by TheSilentChloey
Minor word fixes for story flow XD

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Chapter XIV: The First Diversion

The next day saw Caleb sat in the war council room with his mother.  The pair were running a strategy simulation which to Robin's shock; Caleb was winning.  Handily.  Chrom had been watching the last fifteen minutes or so and had felt it wisest to simply watch.  He knew Robin was fighting a losing battle based on the frown that had dominated her face for the last few minutes.  It was interesting to see and yet Chrom was glad that the pair were working together.  It would he hoped make the war easier to deal with and have Robin carry a lighter burden as a result.

Caleb paused as his mother lost her commander and she sighed, "I am glad that I taught you well," she smiled.  Caleb couldn't help but smile too.  Despite the fact that he was worried about her.  He had hoped that she would have capitalised on his mistakes more than she had.

Maribelle fussed over Lucina and the young woman sighed.  She didn't want to talk to her mother given that the blond had hated the thought that Lucina was married to Caleb.  The bluenette only had to wonder what her reaction would be if she were to heavens forbid produce another heir for him or realise that the pair had Alana who was their future child.  Maribelle's words were ignored and Lucina tried instead to focus on what she was doing.  Reading a book on the uses of healing staves seeing as she didn't want to read the romance novels that were in the room.  Brady was with Cynthia helping her after the poor girl had a major spill and managed to sprain her ankle.  He was always helping Cynthia out, Lucina noticed.  She just wished that Caleb would hurry up and save her from her mother's ranting.  She sighed and heard something about periods.  Then she resisted the urge to roll her eyes, "I haven't had any since before I came back to the past." She shot out, absent mindedly and instantly regreted it.  Maribelle let out a horrified gasp,
And Lucina sighed.  It was going to be a long day in more ways then one.  Her mother then ranted about seeing a healer about it and Lucina tuned it out.  She didn't care.  All of those in from the ruined future had been malnourished to the point that children were impossible and no one cared about it.  All of them had not had the monthly blood since Lucina was fourteen, stress had been a factor but the damage that Grima had done was also another.  They barely had anything to eat and had to fight for everything they had.  Lucina had to admit the rations were a blessing.  While others might have complained those that came from the ruined future most certainly did not.

Of course while Lucina was having to deal with her mother Noire sort out Caleb and Robin was surprised.  Noire however didn't want to say what was wrong in front of Robin so Caleb offered to talk to her privately.  He and Noire left Robin and a confused Chrom.  They were out for a few minutes and then Caleb returned looking for the healing staves,
"Is Noire ok?" Robin asked,
"Just a stomach ache," Caleb replied mildly and Robin sighed.  It was concerning that Caleb was the one that everyone of the future children chose to see with their problems, save for Lucina.  However Robin was certain that there was more to it then that.  Noire had looked like it was more than just a stomach ache.  To Robin it looked like the poor girl was having cramps that one got when they had their period.  Perhaps Caleb was having the grace not to say that in front of Chrom; 'Surprising,' Robin thought.  Her son was a strange man that she would have to come to understand at some point.

Three months.  That was how long it took the ships to arrive from Plegia fully stocked for the campaign ahead.  In those three months Maribelle had little in the way of knowing her daughter's state of health.  She appeared to be healthier than when she and the others had first joined the Shepherds but that was all Maribelle knew.  She noticed that little Alana had another growth spurt and was surprised by the general increase of energy that the group of future children seemed to have that lead to more training.  She watched as Caleb practiced with Brady on how to use tomes Laurent was presently busy with learning the ins and outs of swords from Lucina.  She grit her teeth as it should have been HER that taught her son...not some Plegian ruffian that knew nothing about the Ylissean forms of magic and stances.  She watched as Caleb calmly encouraged Brady and she felt a pang.  This was Robin's son...not some Plegian ruffian she reminded herself and Robin would have trained him to be the best mage possible even if that were using the form of Plegian Mages and Dark Mages.  She looked closer at the young man and sighed.  She didn't know what to think.  He seemed so uncivilized.  And yet he seemed to be well educated.  Very much unlike some who was a barbarian, he was poised and calm.  She had never seen the boy lose his temper, not even once.  He was the one that seemed to be the most responsible alongside Laurent and of course Lucina.  Yet he came as a mystery.  He seemed to carry himself well and yet like her son had a more...informal way of talking with people.  He could stomach Vaike's lewdness; yet understand Virion's accent with ease.  Hell he could talk every bit as formally as the Archer.  Even so Maribelle was undecided as to what to feel about having a son-in-law that was Robin's son.  She could see Robin, however; the calculating expression very much like hers.  Maribelle sighed and remembered talking to the boy.  He was reading a book which on the face of it he would not have been able to understand...should not have been able to understand and yet...he did.  He knew what he was reading and had an understanding of the text.  He even summerised it for her!  Maribelle had thanked him but the shock had been there.  She felt like she needed to talk to Lucina but her own daughter had taking to avoiding her lately.  Maribelle sighed.  She would work out the strange enigma that was Robin's son.

Caleb and Lucina had just settled Alana down when there was a knock on their door.  Lucina was the one to answer it and Noire came in looking decidedly pale, "I'm so sorry to have to bother you both," the dark haired archer and Tharja's future daughter appologised, "I didn't realise that I was on...well...you know," and they did as little needed to be said about it.  Caleb fetched the heal staff that he kept on hand for such things,
"It's no trouble Noire," Caleb replied, "Besides it's what friends are for,"
"I am glad I have friends like you then," Noire smiled, "I'll have to clean up later," the archer nodded and Caleb spoke,
"We'll see about some supplies for you as well Noire,"
"Thank you," Noire smiled weakly and left them to get herself bathed after Caleb had done what he could to take the edge off Noire's pain.

Three days later, Lucina hummed as she began her kitchen duty.  Severa was with her.  Lucina had been sore; uncomfortably so.  She had not had cramping like it before so she decided that she would talk with Caleb later about it.  Severa had gathered the ingredients that they needed and Lucina busied herself with the prep work.  The arguement with Maribelle was still in the bluenette's mind.  She couldn't believe that she was being told to leave Caleb.  Lucina had protested against her mother's words and stormed out of the room; violin down in its case.  She refused to talk to Maribelle after that.  Besides Brady was the violinist in the family, not Lucina.  She couldn't make it sound any good at all and and it sounded little better than a cat screaming.  She had found that on the face of it, she was better at the piano, although she would never tell Maribelle that.

Severa sighed as Lucina diligently did all of the prep work and the red haired mercenary let her.  Anyone with eyes in their head could see Lucina taking out her frustration on the food.  Severa let her.  She felt that the young woman needed it.  She was shocked to find out that Lucina wasn't getting on with her mother, but Severa knew the feeling all the same.  It was like that for her and Cordelia.  The latter being so...perfect that Severa wanted to change her hair to the pale blue that was her father's.  Owain had said that red was the colour of Severa's nobility and she (despite her misgivings) had kept it that way.  Complete in two long pigtails that reached half way down her thighs.

The former Duchess of Rosanne started to cook the main meal when she felt a strange sensation between her legs.  She ignored it and focused on the task at hand.  It wasn't painful, just unpleasant.

Dinner was a quiet affair.  Chrom had spoken with Maribelle and noticed that Lucina and the others that joined the Shepherds with her all seemed to sit together.  They spoke softly and he found it difficult to read what was being said his best guess was that they were talking about private things, if Lucina's expression was anything to go by.  Caleb was calm and it seemed that the group were tighter knit than Chrom had first thought.  Robin came to them and they stopped only long enough to hear what she had to ask of them.  Caleb said something to her and she nodded.  Then she came to Chrom, "They sure like to stick together don't they?" Chrom asked his tactician,
"True," Robin replied, "apparently they need some supplies for some of the young women, although Caleb won't tell me which ones need it,"
"I guess they are used to managing their own affairs," Chrom sighed, "it would and is likely one hell of an adjustment for them,"
"You're very calm about this," Robin responded with a raised eyebrow,
"There is no point in stressing them over something like that," Chrom replied, then he added, "Just make sure there is enough for all of the young women," and Robin knew what he was talking about.  She didn't need to have the words for what Chrom was asking of her.  She would make the adjustment for the extra women they had in the army.
"I will," Robin promised and then she frowned, "I haven't see Tharja...do you know where she is?"
"With Gaius the last time I checked," Chrom said calmly and Robin sighed in response.  She had feared the worst when Tharja's eyes had taken a gleam when she saw Caleb, but if she was with the ginger haired thief it would be fine.

Later that night Lucina heard a frantic knock on the door and she opened it to reveal a white-faced Severa, "Severa is everything alright?" Lucina asked her friend,
"No," the former Duchess winced, "there's damn blood in my platoons," she grumbled and Lucina frowned
"Have you had any sign of-"
"NO!  I had no gods' damn warning," Severa snapped then she winced
"Do you need anything?" Lucina asked her,
Severa looked down, "Yeah," she mumbled and Lucina checked though what she had and pulled out some period supplies that Caleb had managed to get for them as discretely as possible from Anna.  Of course Severa was the second young woman in as many weeks that had it start up again.  With Severa taken care of, Lucina sighed and winced again as more pain cut through her lower body.  She was getting less and less comfortable as the night wore on and she sighed.  Caleb had yet to come back and Alana had gone to bed.  She grimaced as the pain was followed by a less than pleasant sensation.  She decided that she would go to have a bath when the door opened to reveal Caleb.  He looked tired and she sighed, "Tough day love?"
"You could say that," he grimaced.  "I had a chat with Noire and hers seems to have stopped for now,"
"It looks like Severa's has started," Lucina disclosed, "she said she didn't get a warning that it was going to come,"
"Hmm everyone is different I suppose," Caleb replied thoughtfully, "You holding up alright?" Caleb asked her,
Lucina sighed, "Not really." She admitted, "I think I've spent the entire afternoon cramping up and I feel...off."
"Maybe some rest will help," Caleb offered kindly, "I'll go and get the heal staff,"
"Are you sure about that Caleb?" Lucina asked him,
"If you're not feeling right it should help," he replied and she sighed.  She wasn't sure what was going on but it couldn't be good.

Caleb was woken with a frantic Lucina practically panicking and he groaned.  All he got from her frantic whispers was that there was blood in their bed.  Then he firmly gripped her shoulders, "Lucy," he croaked then he swallowed to try sounding less like a frog and more like himself, "It's going to be alright, I'll get you a warm bath and some clean clothes, will you need...?"
"I-I don't know..." Lucina panicked again and Caleb held her for a full minute,
"I'll get it for you," he reasured her.  He moved then to prepare a bath and crossed pathes with his mother
"Something wrong?" She asked and Caleb replied,
"No, everything is fine Mother," and Robin frowned,
"I don't think so," she said and Caleb sighed, "look I won't ask much but at least let me help," she said and Caleb felt a chuckle,
"Thanks, but there isn't much that needs to be helped with,"
"Alright then," Robin sighed then she looked serious, "How long have you had to watch over them?"
Caleb paused and Robin saw him look down, "S-since I was...uh...I was fourteen," Caleb said quietly as he filled the bucket for Lucina's bath, one that would require a few more buckets,
"I see," Robin said sadly and Caleb continued,
"We had precious few people that we could trust at that point," he used his fire magic to keep the bath warm while he fetched more water.  Robin realising her son was filling the bath joined him in his task, "By that stage everyone was on the battle field fighting while we were being kept "safe", though it was hardly safety that we had."
Robin listened to Caleb's tale and learned a great deal.  With the task done she left him thinking that the bath was for him.

With the bath ready he bought Lucina in to relax.  She sat in the water as he cleaned their bedding.  He'd got everything she needed and was about half of the way through what he needed to do to make her comfortable when he was met with none other than Maribelle.  He knew that she didn't approve of him and he sighed.  She stopped and Caleb would have kept going had she not spoken, "Oh, Caleb...you haven't seen Lucina have you?"
"No," the tactician responded calmly.  He knew that Lucina didn't want to talk to Maribelle however he decided that he wouldn't be the one responsible for what happened between Lucina and her mother.  He was going to stay out of it.  Maribelle regarded him a while longer before she turned back the way she had come.  He heaved a sigh of relief and ducked into the bathroom.

With the bleeding sorted Lucina was able to return to bed and know that there wouldn't be blood spilling on their bed.

Caleb was tired the next morning but he didn't make a fuss.  They had ships to be packed into and work to do.  Caleb spent his time with the Future Shepherds all getting ready for such a trip.  They spent their time working out who would share their quarters with who as Owain recently married Severa in the same low key ceremony as Caleb and Lucina, the others also followed suit.  It was hardly unheard of but the pairings surprised Caleb.  Kjelle was with Yarne and Brady had chosen Cynthia.  Noire and Laurent as well as Nah had as yet not paired up and they seemed content to sleep in their own cabins.  Caleb and Lucina shared and Alana made sure that she was close to them.

Three days of sailing wasn't exactly comforting to Lucina. She was in agony still and Caleb had done what he could to ease it for her.  Alana was worried for her but there was little the child could do.  Lucina was glad that she wasn't getting seasick on top of the pain.  Although the pain did make her feel like she wanted to be sick.  Caleb was surprised when Maribelle had came to speak with him but he said little as he was more focused on the task at hand.  Lucina did manage to join Caleb after a while.  She might not have felt the best but at least she was out and about.

Chrom stood as the breeze carried them towards the Valmese and towards the beginning of the war.  It was hard to believe that things were so peaceful.  He noticed that Lucina seemed to join him and he smiled glad to see her and Caleb.  It was odd that the pair were married but according to the "Roster" they were and Robin quietly informed him that there were more marriages since they'd left the port.  He sighed and wondered if there was something that he was missing and sighed.  He'd noticed that Lucina made a point to avoid Maribelle but there was little that he could do.  He had to let the pair sort it out.  In the meantime he met with Robin and Caleb to discuss what plans they could use against the Valmese.  They had a few ideas but nothing solid.  Caleb had gone to check on the mounts and Robin spoke to Chrom,
"Do you remember the simulation I ran with Caleb a few days ago Chrom?"
"Yes," the blue haired lord replied, "what about it?"
"Well," Robin began then sighed, "I gave Caleb the worst case possible against the Valmese and...he sacrificed half his fleet against the Valmese.  I would never have thought to do it.  He knew that we would have plenty of room for the remaning soldiers."
"What?!"Chrom gaped,
"He's a better tactician than I am," the Grandmaster replied.  "Far better than I could gave anticipated," she said as Maribelle arrived.  The young woman looked between Robin and Chrom and she asked what they meant.

Caleb having checked on the mounts of the Shepherds then went on to do inventory; dull but needed.  He made a note of the supplies and then headed back to report to Robin.  He didn't notice the quietness of the ship.  He did notice that the breeze had stopped and he frowned.  Something didn't feel right.

Edited by TheSilentChloey

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Shadow Tactician Chapter XV: Storm on the Sea

"So let me get this straight," Maribelle demanded, "You're saying that somehow your son is superior to you?"
Robin sighed and looked between her friend and her Lord, then she spoke, "If you had seen the tactics he pulled...then you would be in little doubt, as it is he has much to learn even if he has the skills," the white haired woman said. At this point she could give her son full tactical duties over the campaign and not have to lift a finger. She was certain that her son had to know how skilled he truly was. She would have to work harder on a no win scenario for him. Perhaps...she stopped her line of thought as the young man in question arrived with the much needed list of supplies,
"Everything is accounted for Mother," Caleb was stiff and formal, and Robin had to admit quite professional sounding. "However there is more than the required amount of oil present," Robin frowned and sighed.
"That can't be good," she said to herself and Caleb seemed to fidget a little under the gazes of his mother, Chrom and Maribelle, "Thank you, that is one less thing to worry about," she noticed that Caleb was frowning about something and sighed, "Now then we should hold a full war council as soon as possible, Chrom," She looked at the bluenette and continued, "We should have the full report from our scouts by then,"
"Right," Chrom nodded and made a motion with his hand, "In the meantime how about we set about having some lunch," a low groan from his stomach sounded and seemed to point to it being a good idea. However Caleb was uneasy, "Say Caleb, why don't you come and join me?"
The young tactician jolted, "O-of course!" He responded and followed the Lord below deck. Robin sighed as the pair disappeared from sight and continued her work.

Meanwhile in the mess hall there was a great deal of noise. The perpetrator was as always; Gaius. He was at present arguing with Lon'qu about the best form of something or other (it was hard to tell because both men were close to blows) and Chrom sighed. He heard a chuckle from Caleb, "Gaius never changes,"
"Hmm?" Chrom was unsure of how to respond and the sound he made seemed to be understood by the younger man beside him,
"When he hasn't had enough sugar, he starts to cause trouble," Caleb said pointedly, "it used to happen all the time in the future...until he...never mind that." Caleb went right up to Gaius and Chrom watched as the young man fetched a plate of what had to be dessert and place it in front of Gaius, "You know it's not nice to fight with your comrades Gaius," Chrom was bemused but Gaius saw the sugar and said,
"Wh-whut...I'm dreaming ain't I?"
"Nope," Caleb replied,
"Thanks Bubbles!" Gaius dug into the food and Caleb frowned,
"Gods damn it!" He cursed but Gaius was too far into sweet heaven to hear him.
"..." Lon'qu frowned and Caleb sighed,
"What was that all about?" Chrom asked,
"I was kind of hoping he wouldn't call me that..." Caleb sulked, "ugh, I suppose I should get used to that,"
"Wait how in the world...?"
"I used to get called Bubbles by Gaius when I was a tiny kid," Caleb groaned, "Worst part was I swore it went back much further than that..."
"Well I can't exactly call the baby you Bubbles junior you know,"
"Besides I think Mini Bubbles is better,"
"Oh gods no..."
"Then there's Bubbles Senior...it just makes perfect sense don't you think? Of course I think the title of Bubbles Junior has to go to that Alana kid she's got the cute factor and it works with her,"
"Wait what?!"
"Well Gaius has a habit of calling your mother Bubbles Senior, no idea why but he just does,"
"Hey Blue," Gaius used a nickname that Caleb knew was Chrom, "Just a thought but..."
"No Gaius, Robin would have you skinned alive if you did that again."
"Damn!" Gaius cursed. Lon'qu wasn't blinking the entire time. Then he looked from Chrom to Gaius to Caleb and back again. Then he sighed,
"How about we just eat lunch?" The swordsman said scathingly
"Agreed," Caleb said quickly getting himself a plate. Chrom chuckled and joined the young tactician,
"Say Caleb, do you know anything else that I should be aware of about the others?"
The tactician frowned, "Aside from what you know already? Not much. Mind you if you're asking who married who...I am not going to say that information."
"And why might that be?" Chrom asked the young man,
"Because I wouldn't want anyone to feel pressured into a relationship that they don't want to be in,"
"If it were between just us and no one else?" Chrom suggested and Caleb sighed
"Too much risk for too little reward," he said quietly,
"I see," Chrom sighed. Talk instead turned to who taught Caleb how to use a sword and the young man admitted that Lucina was the one who was more interested in it than he was but he tagged along with her anyway as he was more often then not the one that seemed to observe more then do the actual lessons from time to time. Chrom found that despite the age gap between them Caleb could well have been his best friend. The young man certainly looked up to Chrom; if the stories he was willing to share were to be believed. Chrom got a good laugh at the pranks Caleb had pulled "under Lucina's orders" on Miriel, who was their tutor until she had to leave for war. The mage had seen through all of them (according to Caleb) but Chrom got the sense of a little bird warning the mage of impending pranks and shenanigans in the form of Robin getting wind of such orders. For Chrom it was surprising how much Caleb had to tell even if he was being vague about some details (like who married who and which child had which parents). Chrom struggled not to laugh at some of the more...colourful shenanigans that Caleb, Lucina and Owain got up to with Brady joining them more often then not. It was a relief for Chrom to see that Caleb less tense than what he'd been since he'd joined the Shepherds; hopefully healing some of the old wounds that the Prince knew was under the surface. That and it allowed Chrom to get to know his son-in-law without Maribelle faintly scoffing and shooting glares at the young man or Lucina frowning as if waiting for her father to be the "over-protective" one of her parents a job that Maribelle was well suited to; given that she was so protective of her family. Chrom was just glad Lucina was happy and Caleb was taking care of her. Which was sadly more than he could say of Maribelle. He grinned and suggested that they had left Robin alone long enough with Maribelle and Caleb nodded though the lad seemed more lost in thought over a clear memory of a past conversation than what was happening presently.

Things took a turn for the worse with the weather starting to look like it was going to storm. Robin knew that the entire fleet was exposed and hoped like hell they would be fine. She saw Lucina come into the war council cabin with Maribelle fussing over the young woman. Lucina looked less than happy,
"I told you I'm fine!" Lucina uncharacteristically snapped and Caleb appeared in the doorway with Chrom, "I will not need your assistance with anything right now!"
Caleb sighed and came to catch Lucina's arm, her gaze softened when she saw him and she lowered her voice and said something that Robin did not catch. Caleb nodded and Lucina seemed to deflate a little. She looked at Chrom and he shrugged in response. He then moved to take his usual seat as Flavia, Basilio and Frederick entered. Maribelle had looked like she wanted to talk to Lucina but it was clear that wasn't to be the case as Lucina avoided eye contact with her mother the entire time. Lissa was the last one to arrive with Lon'qu at her side. Ever since the pair had announced their engagement Maribelle had been ecstatic about it. Caleb frowned but said nothing. He leant to Lucina and whispered something to her and she frowned as well. Robin watched and saw Caleb sigh, "Should have expected this to happen...I wonder who else is going to have to..."
"We swore we wouldn't interfere, we will maintain that stance,"
"Of course...but it's going to be hard on them..."
Robin frowned and before she could ask Basilio spoke, "We haven't heard from the scouts lately, we're hoping that they haven't been waylaid but it is possible. We should check on them as soon as possible,"
"It could be the length of the journey or it could be that there was a storm. The captain of the ship seems to think we'll travel fine, storms are not normally expected around this time of year." Robin spoke,
"I suggest sending out someone to see what fate befell the scouts," Chrom spoke up, "They should have been back hours ago and we still don't..."
"Forgive the intrusion Milord," Cordelia and Sumia arrived both looking like they were soaking wet. The women looked unharmed but it was clear that they were shaken, Sumia was the one to continue,
"We got caught in a fierce storm. It our Pegasi all they had to make it back and it's travelling fairly fast, it will hit us just around nightfall, the Captain is making all the preparations he can, he said to keep everything calm and that the ship should be fine,"
"Right well then we'll need to look lively and do what we can to help."
"Heh, hopefully this storm will thin the Valmese down to easier to manage numbers." Flavia joked,
"We can't just rely on that," Robin said firmly, "We're going to have to be prepared to fight them at full strength!"

Caleb and Lucina were told that they needed to help Sumia and Cordelia. Caleb had a heal staff just in case, Lucina also carrying one. Mostly healing Pegasi was easy. Though Caleb knew they could be uneasy around men which is why Lucina was with him.

Caleb used his most soothing voice as he could. It helped that he'd thought to bring a lump of sugar and he offered it to Sumia's pegasus. The mare sniffed him cautiously and Sumia almost went to move forward when the mare decided that she would eat the lump of sugar that Caleb had offered, "There you are girl," Caleb said gently using the staff to check over the mare, "I won't hurt you," he frowned, "Sumia do you think you can hold her for a moment,"
"Yes, I can," she replied, "Is something the matter?"
Caleb gently petted the Pegasus' nose,
"I'm afraid so," he said voice low, "A strained hock, it might not seem like much now, but it could get worse,"

Meanwhile Lucina was making sure that Cordelia's pegasus wasn't injured. She could see that the mare's wings were strained. It worried her. Both women seemed unharmed but there was little that could be done. She and Caleb had to help how they could. Lucina sighed. She had to wonder if Cordelia had yet to let go of the love she had for Chrom. Lucina wasn't even sure how to broach such a topic. In the end she decided to state what she knew, "Your mount has strained her wings, it isn't as bad as I'd initially feared so she should make a quick recovery."
"Thank you," Cordelia sighed with relief as Lucina raised the staff to help the mare heal. She noticed that Caleb was also working on his "patient" and seemed to have Sumia holding the mare's halter while he tended to the injury the pegasus doubtless had. When they were done there was a stillness in the air that belied the in coming storm. Sumia looked at Cordelia and then the sound of rumbling reached them.
"Oh gods," Sumia said tensely and Cordelia spoke,
"Don't panic,"
"OUCH!" Caleb grunted as Sumia's pegasus knocked him into the stable wall, "Easy there; Lovebird," he soothed making Sumia raise an eyebrow. She didn't recall telling the young man the name of her Pegasus. "She must have been worried because her rider is," he said calmly, "it must have been some storm,"
"We got lucky and didn't get much of it but what we did...well it was a lot of rain and the winds were strong enough to injure the Pegasi."
"I'll say," Caleb sighed giving Lovebird a gentle pat, "All done, that hock should feel a lot better," he said to the mare. She snorted and sniffed at Caleb again. He chuckled and said, "Sorry I'm all out of sugar lumps girl,"
The ship suddenly swayed and Caleb gripped the door. Sumia would have fallen if not for Lovebird. Cordelia and Lucina were lucky. Lucina because she had balanced well and Cordelia because she was at the door of the stable, "That was a bit excessive," Lucina said as the ship made another lurch.
"Not the worst I've felt," Caleb said still gripping the door, "gods I do not want to think about how awful this would be for Alana right now,"
"Mummy! Daddy!" Alana seemed almost desperate to find them stumbling about gripping whatever she could hold onto as the ship hit significant swells. Cordelia and Sumia blinked in shock. Caleb managed to get out of the stable before a more serious swell hit. Alana looked pale and he knew what was likely going to happen. Lucina also finished up and hastened to the girl's side.
"Alana sweetie, are you alright?"
"Mummy," the girl whimpered holding onto Lucina with all her might. She scrunched her face when another "wave" hit. This was weather that Caleb knew could be dangerous for the little one, "I..." she hesitated for a moment and Caleb bought the healing staff up quickly lest his daughter be sick. He watched her relax a little and sighed,
"We need to get back to our commander," Cordelia said, "or the ship's captain the storm was too strong for the Pegasi to fly in...which means it could get..." the ship rocked again and Caleb caught Lucina and Alana, almost falling if not for his magic. Cordelia frowned, "much worse," the Falcon Knight stated.
"I would agree that would be our top priority, however," Caleb responded, "we need to make sure that we can do what we need to. The sailors are likely some of the best Plegia could afford, we need to trust them, even if we don't feel like it,"

The group left the area with the Pegasi seen to (although both the Falcon Knight and Dark Flier were not so sure about it) and came across none other than Henry who was grinning widely, "Oh boy those waves are awesome!" He cried and Caleb sighed. The ship was swaying at a worrisome pace and all the dark mage could say was that it was awesome. He had Alana holding one arm while Lucina held the girl's hand. She was trying very hard not to be sick and Caleb could barely get the staff out to help her. Even Lucina was having trouble. Caleb tilted his head as he heard yelling in Plegian. Moments later a sailor came down and said sharply,
"Mages, git yer asses up top pronto, we're goin t' need yer magic to clear the damn water from the deck,"
By which he meant using wind magic to blast the water off the deck. Caleb looked to Lucina and she frowned,
"Lucy, get Alana to safe quarters, I'll go and get the others,"
Lucina suddenly grabbed Caleb's arm, "Stay safe," she spoke clearly,
"I will," Caleb promised, breaking off from his family to get to work.

The rain was coming down hard and Caleb could see why they needed mages. He grit his teeth as he focused on what he had to. His movements were sharp and crisp. Beside him his mother also wielded a wind tome. They aimed to make enough of a wind to push the water back out off the ship's deck. It was a difficult task. Caleb almost slipped up twice as a sailor or two brushed past him pulling ropes left, right and centre. All the other boats were doubtless using all of their mages as Caleb could see occasional massive blasts of wind magic. He grimaced as the rain stung his face. His thoughts were on only Lucina and Alana. His poor little girl struggling not to be ill angered Caleb a little. He felt it was unfair but there was little he could do. Chrom apparently also pulled up ill. Caleb's focus was going to be needed for some time yet.

They got lucky it seemed as they passed through the storm unscathed. Chrom was below deck with his wife hovering over him. She was concerned with the fact that Chrom was ill. His illness was a thing the sailors called "sea-sickness" and it worried Maribelle that he wasn't the only Shepherd that had it. Apparently Lucina was keeping that from her mother as well. Why else would Caleb stock up on healing staves? She was beginning to think that the boy was actively the cause of Lucina's current lack of desire to spend time with her. Maribelle however did not know the truth.

The weather took a couple of days to clear up and by the time it did Alana finally felt well enough to join her parents above deck. For Caleb it was a relief that his daughter was getting better. Lucina was able to relax a bit more and thankfully they could start working on the most important thing. Getting Alana to enjoy herself. Caleb had to keep up with his duties but the spare time he had he spent with his wife and daughter. He checked to make sure they hadn't lost anything in the storm with a surprising companion. Alana had wanted very much to learn from her father how to be a tactician. She was too shy to ask her grandmother; which made Caleb wonder why that was, he resolved to ask her later.

Lucina spent her time wondering about the ship, as long as there was nothing to be done. She trained with those of the Future Shepherds who were not roped into some task or other by Robin. She felt that really they should all be training but few of the Shepherds seemed to. It was almost time for the evening meal when Lucina saw Caleb and Alana come up on deck and she quickly joined them.

Robin looked at the small family apprehensively. She had yet to tell Chrom about the little girl...Alana...she frowned and didn't know what to make of the child. She followed Caleb almost everywhere on his rounds today. Robin decided to find out what it was that was going on with the girl.

"I gots to feed the Pegisy today Mummy," the little bluenette girl grinned, "Daddy says Pegisy needs hay so we gives them the hay and they eats it so fast!"
Lucina chuckled, "I bet they did," she said, unaware of Robin approaching them,
"Mummy does you thinks I can rides one when I is older?" Caleb sighed and Lucina pet the girl's head
"I don't see why not," Lucina replied, "though I don't doubt your father and I would worry over how safe you were,"
The answer seemed to satisfy the child and the small family lapsed into a comfortable silence, broken when Caleb said at last, "I think we should be heading down for supper,"
Only for them to turn and face Robin. She noticed that Alana seemed to shrink a little but other than that made no indication of what she was thinking,
"Ah Mother," Caleb said surprised, "is everything alright?"
"It's fine..." Robin sighed, "I was wondering if the three of you wanted to join me for supper?"
"We'd love to," Lucina replied Robin decided her questions would be answered later. Though she learned more from her observations than she might have thought. Something was off with the girl and it wasn't that she was supposedly Caleb and Lucina's daughter. The girl resembled them too much not to be and there was no dark magic to make it contrary. No it was the fact that Lucina herself didn't look like she'd birthed a child. From what Robin could gather about the world Caleb and Lucina had left behind the young woman just wouldn't have been able to have a child. That and another issue. She had asked Laurent how long the pair had been married for and he stated "Two years hence," as he felt it was a question he could answer without too much information coming to the tactician than she "needed to know". Especially since they were withholding information about who their parents were. Laurent however was slightly easy to guess. He spoke like Miriel and Robin could guess that it was likely he was either one of her pupils that had grown to accustomed to talk like her or was her son. Robin was still working out who the young man's father was.

Thus she knew that it was impossible for Lucina to have a child Alana's age and there was no way that Robin would have bedded Chrom under any circumstance to explain the Mark of Grima and Naga on the girl. They were each married to different people for gods' sake. Yet Robin couldn't tell...she froze as she thought about a possible theory. The hierophant had looked a whole lot older than her son that was with them. That man unnerved the tactician but his resemblance to Caleb was even more disturbing now that she had time to really think about it.

So it was that Robin had a theory. What if that hierophant had somehow sired the girl with Lucina. Not the Lucina that was with them. She was in no state to have had a child in the past regardless. Her body showed no sign of birthing or bearing a child. But another Lucina...and Robin felt it was too foolish a theory to entertain.

After all the hierophant had been with Validar and that man would not have allowed one marked by Naga in the presence of a potential vessel of Grima. She knew the requirements. She knew what Grima wanted...what was expected of one of his own...

Caleb sighed as Alana managed to get crumbs all over her face. He and Lucina moved to wipe their daughter's face and Robin giggled, causing Alana to tilt her head. The resulting look was in Caleb's mind one of the most adorable looks possible. If not for the crumbs, "Alana," Caleb said gently, "please wipe your face,"
And the girl complied "There's a girl," Lucina smiled and Robin chuckled,
"I had no idea why but a have a feeling someone just got herself an extra helping of dessert,"
"Yay!" Alana cheered, "Thank yous~!"
Caleb burst out laughing and was grinning widely Alana had without a doubt a way of amusing her parents and it seemed that Robin had earned a little of the girl's trust.

Dessert was a delicious apple. Alana had over the last few days a loose tooth that her parents had urged her to leave be. Of course she didn't know why it was loose in the first place but she listened to them. Naturally she bit into the apple and while she was eating her piece her Daddy spoke, "Hmm, it looks like that loose tooth is out,"
Leading Alana to look at her apple and see that it was indeed out. She frowned and pulled the tooth out, "Daddy, why's it in the apple and not in my mouth where it should be?"
"It's no longer needed Alana," Caleb said calmly, "You're getting new teeth,"
"I is?"
"Uhuh," he grinned, "looks like our little girl is growing up,"
"Don't say that!" Lucina spoke hugging Alana, "She's our little girl forever,"
Robin chuckled and then she sighed. Caleb grinned and Robin couldn't help wonder how much she was going to see this girl grow up and yet miss her son's own growing up. It was damn hard to see him as little more than the little toddler that bounced about her with a cute smile on his face. She looked at the young man and wondered if there was a reason that she was so uneasy. Perhaps it was her motherly instincts talking. Robin decided that she would have to wait and see. She'd yet to see her son actively on the battle field. She would withhold her judgement for now.

Edited by TheSilentChloey
Removing Spelling Errors

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Chapter XVI: A New Plan

Caleb was half-asleep. Lucina had left about fifteen minutes ago saying that she was going to train and that Caleb should try to get some rest after kissing his forehead. He'd had a very rough night. If not the inability to fall asleep; then the nightmares that kept him waking up. Even though he'd comeback at a reasonable time after doing his tactical duties for his mother. He was in a state of exhaustion. He'd had to go about the ship doing checks and was looking forward to a well earned nap. Alana was with Lucina on this particular morning which was the first week since they'd left the continent of Archanea. The pair had decided that they were going to do some training. Caleb was preparing to get some much needed rest when there was a rather loud yell in the corridor of the ship. He thought little of it and tried to re-warm himself in a cocoon of blankets.


He'd almost got to the point where he was set to go back to sleep when the door slammed open and a loud and furious yell jolted the half-asleep tactician.

WHAT KIND OF TACTICIAN SLEEPS SO LATE IN THE MORNING?!” Caleb groaned and covered his head with a pillow, all he needed was an hour to rest. However it seemed that he wasn't going to get that hour,

YOU! MESS HALL! NOW!” Maribelle yelled at the seemingly lazy tactician. The young man groaned and got up, eyes barely open but she didn't notice that as she was already on her way out and yelled over her shoulder, “YOU'RE LATE FOR THE WAR COUNCIL BREAKFAST!”


Which lead to Caleb half staggering about tiredly making his way to the mess hall in Maribelle's furious wake. He could barely make out where he had to go and the stomping of the Valkyrie's footsteps made him feel that bit less well. He half wondered why they were holding a war council with breakfast and dismissed the thought in the same token. He was aware of running into someone and couldn't even mumble an apology to them. He somehow managed to make it to his usual spot when he heard his mother say,

Gods Maribelle, you did not just wake him up...” Robin's voice was deathly calm and Caleb felt the chills up his spine. He knew that tone and hastened to try to wake himself up; quickly,

You really think it's productive to be so slothful?” Maribelle shot back and all hell broke loose when a third voice joined the fray,


Lucy,” Caleb croaked, “Please don't...” he couldn't even make a dint in the argument as his voice was almost too soft to be heard

I second Lucina,” Caleb jolted as Chrom weighed in on the argument, “It isn't fair for someone to be deprived of sleep and I suppose it also isn't fair in the same token to accuse someone of something that they haven't done.”

Caleb did do the first and second night watch last night...you know in case anyone can hear me...” Kellam said trying to get everyone's attention. Frederick spoke,

Indeed Milord, if I'm not mistaken, Caleb joined me for the first night watch.” Frederick said and Robin frowned,

I thought Tharja was on the first night watch,”

You had me on the second night watch,” The sorceress spoke examining her nails, “And Caleb was busy with the tasks that you set him, as well as the second night watch.”

How she knew Caleb didn't want to know. It was too creepy to think about. Of course Alana came over to him and he absently moved so she could sit up at that table on his lap.


The argument lasted for a few more minutes as Sumia came in what had had to be breakfast. Lucina sat beside Caleb and made sure to get him a bit more to eat. Though Caleb tried to half-heartedly push it back towards her he ended up compromising by sharing it with her. He noticed that the bowls seemed a little off and guessed that they had dark magic used on them; likely Henry's doing as he'd seen the dark mage talking with Sumia last night before dinner.


The meeting began once breakfast was eaten. Caleb was too tired to really pay attention but he got the gist of it. Sumia and Cordelia would be joined by Cherche scouting to see what fate had befell the enemy fleet; assuming that they got caught by the same storm that ripped through a couple of days ago. Cynthia of course was going to join them and it was something she was looking forward to. Even though Caleb had told her not to make a big deal over it the young Dark Flier was. Mostly because she was getting to spend time with her mother. He sighed as he listened to the latest news of what was going on with potential battle plans and he eventually was awake enough to process that his mother was going for an unusual plan. He paused and noticed that she had the bright idea of getting oil spilled over the Valmese decks with fliers and mages to light the oil on fire from the back. He sighed and shook his head. His mother wasn't planing very well. He knew what would happen. Sumia would get injured and be unable to fight. Henry; feeling horrible would do everything in his power to make it up to her as it was his miss-timed spell that would cause the injury. There had to be a better way. He waited until most of the Shepherds had gone to train and came to his mother. Alana following him quietly,

Mother,” Caleb spoke, “A word if I may?”

Robin turned to face her son and looked concerned, “How are you holding up?”

I'm fine...I just came to...well...” Caleb sighed, “You'll have two pegasus knights out of action permanently if you go through with that plan...”

Caleb,” Robin looked at her son with a serious expression, “Is there something that I should know?”

Caleb heaved a sigh, “Yes, but not with everyone's ears in the area...”


Robin had her son with her in her cabin. She frowned at the seemingly ominous words he'd said, “You'll have two pegasus knights out of action permanently.” She frowned and wondered how that was possible. “The Shepherds only have two pegasus knights...so does that mean?” Robin wondered to herself. She noticed that Caleb had looked dead serious (despite his tired expression). She had to wonder why he was even saying this. She sighed and murmured a spell that would keep the Shepherds from hearing what was being said. If Tharja so much as dared to try and listen in Robin would have to use a more serious deterrent. She sat at the small desk in the room and laced her fingers as Caleb started to pace in front of her. She waited quietly and was almost going to prompt him to speak when he said,

This has happened before,” She frowned and his gaze softened briefly, “In...well...in the future where we,” He paused, “Lucy, the others and I are from,” He began, “I heard the tales of what happened in the Valmese war.


I was far too young at the time to understand, both Lucy and I were mere babies when it happened. All we had was hearsay from the others shepherds. Sumia...and to a lesser extent Cordelia both were injured from the blast of the oil being set on fire. Sumia was never able to ride again...nor was she able to fight. I am not sure the exact details but it was often said that it was a miss-timed spell that caused the injury.


Cordelia of course would go on to continue trying to fight in the war but in the end, her injuries caught up to her and her fate was almost worse than Sumia's. Both were eventually killed trying to protect us.”

Caleb paced and Robin felt cold. She looked at him shocked, “W-what do you mean?”

That Sumia and Cordelia were both injured. Cordelia's pegasus lost her life to infection of her wounds and Sumia's...well Lovebird only survived through sheer dumb luck. She took years to get well enough for to be ridden again.”

Robin pinched the bridge of her nose. “And this happens...”

It was how it happened,” Caleb said quietly now, palms resting on Robin's desk looking his mother in the eye. He wasn't lying to her. She knew that he wasn't lying to her. Robin bit her lip, and said,

Then we have to find another way...and I don't think...”

Mother...” Caleb gave her a worried expression,

Caleb...I need your help.”


Chrom was up deck with Maribelle and Lucina. He was waiting to hear from Robin as to what they were going to do about their current situation as he'd needed to confirm the actual plan before sending the pegasus knights out. Frederick arrived with Panne at his side. Lucina was avoiding eye contact with her mother after the latest argument that had broken out between them. Chrom wanted to talk to Maribelle about it but with Lucina present it wasn't a good idea. That and he doubted that his daughter wanted to say anything in front of her mother.


Three hours later and the two tacticians were still not complete with their planing. Robin had to wonder if the reason for that was the fact that she and Caleb had been running a strategy more akin to the simulation than what she was initially thinking. Caleb was by far working on getting his task complete and she watched as he carefully tried to work out the best thing to do. He was frowning and she wasn't sure it was going to work until...

There!” Robin said pointing to the exact point, “That is their likely weak point we should be able to exploit it if they have the right amount of ships together to cause that...”

The casualties would be immense,” Caleb frowned, “Not for us but for them...”

It is the best we can do my son,” Robin soothed him, “Together we could devise no better a plan than this.”

You're certain mother? This doesn't feel right...” Caleb looked unhappy and Robin drew to his level,

I know...gods I know,” She said painfully aware of the deaths that the plan was going to cause. “We don't have a choice in the matter Caleb. Even if I wanted to try to keep their deaths to a minimum...I know that this is the best way forwards to protect the Shepherds and Ylisse.”

Right,” Caleb said quietly,

Caleb...” Robin said softly, “I know that this will not be an easy task. However we must not let the people who will die to die in vain. We must make sure that we end the war for their sakes.”

Yes mother.” Caleb replied and they shared a glance. Robin knew that he son was unhappy but she also knew that it was for the best. They had to do it. Walhart was going to pay dearly for what he was doing. Together mother and son would take him down with the rest of the Shepherds.


Chrom having not seen Robin or Caleb was beginning to wonder what was going on. He decided that he would take the time to talk to Lucina about what had happened (privately). She didn't seem too happy about the topic of conversation but he guessed that there was some irritation at Maribelle. He never thought that Lucina would be like that towards her own mother but he noticed the issue stemmed from Lucina's choice in husband. Chrom sighed. He would have to find out the reason that the pair seemed to be arguing about Lucina's choice in husband from his wife it seemed. Lucina had been less than thrilled with Maribelle's suggestions and Chrom couldn't really blame his daughter.


Four hours had passed since Robin and Caleb had started to work out a new strategy and they came to the closest thing that they could to a complete strategy. Chrom knocked on the door and he and Lucina noticed that the war room was a mess as both tacticians had worked solidly on the new strategy, he had to move carefully. “Uh, Robin,” Chrom spoke carefully trying to get his tactician's attention, “What exactly is going on here?”

Oh, Chrom,” Robin looked up from what she was doing and made another cross out on a piece of paper, “I'm sorry but we're kind of busy at the moment.”

Mother that move won't work,” Caleb said compiling his notes on the new strategy, “The mages are too exposed here.”

Ah crap!” Robin cursed, “Do we have any knights to keep them from getting hit?”

No,” Caleb replied, “They're busy with our archers at the moment.”

Damn it!” Robin cursed again,

Grandma why are you saying bad words?” Alana piped up making Chrom realise that the little girl was there much to his surprise,

Just ignore them dear,” Robin said, “and don't repeat them...”

Yes Grandma,” the little girl said, “Daddy is this the paper you was looking for?”

Ah! Yes, thank you Alana.”

ROBIN!” Chrom yelled, “WHAT IS OUR NEXT MOVE?”

The tacticians stared at Chrom and he felt his face heat up a little. The silence was about as awkward as it could be with Lucina looking from her father to Caleb's mother to Caleb to Alana then back again. The silence was broken when Caleb said calmly, “We're not sure yet because we have run into some trouble.”

Yes, at the moment we're working on the distribution of our troops.” Robin added, “We'll tell you when we have it right.”

Chrom groaned, “Robin...we need a plan now. Our soldiers are more than ready to go and-”

Pegasus knights!” Caleb said suddenly,

Of course!” Robin said scratching out what she'd written and they adjusted the figures on the map and Chrom groaned,

I always wonder why I hired her,” Chrom muttered, “I swear I can't get through to her.”

Most likely because she's busy with a strategy like she said.” Lucina supplied calmly, “Sometimes it took Caleb five or more hours to get a working one done. I believe it has something to do with a 'no deaths' rule that they have.”

Chrom sighed, “Yes well we need to have something to work with.”

Mummy,” Alana said bouncing over to Lucina and the princess smiled at her, “I is hungry can I please has a sammich?”

Of course,” Lucina said quick take the child to eat while Caleb was busy.

So if we use the pegasus knights to keep the mages out of trouble then we can keep the knights with our archers. Then that opens their pegasus knights up to get shredded.”

Simple but effective.” Robin replied and Chrom sighed. This was going to take a while...


Half an hour later Chrom was able to say that at least Robin and Caleb had come up with a strategy that could be used. They had decided that based on the reports from their scouts they could afford to do something a little less risky than before. They had decided that it was far easier to fight tight quarters and hit the Valmese general to disrupt their communications. Then once that was achieved they worked out that the remaining forces should surrender fairly quickly although Robin was certain that they would have to take over the commanding vessel for them to get anywhere. Scouts were needed to confirm what the situation was and Chrom left the pair as they got to the more complex part of their job. It was hard to know what to do at this stage so Chrom had decided to spend the time training with Brady.


They were having a good sparring match when Robin finally came with Caleb to see Chrom. Sumia and the other scouts had reported that the Valemese fleet was half the size of the fleet Plegia provided but they had just as many soldiers as them. Robin and Caleb had both revealed that there was an even better plan to be put to use. They would get control of half of the Valmese fleet and use the ships to ram into the rest of the fleet with the oil being used to burn the fleet up. It would make the best sense. However if the ships had canons...well then they would use the canons to fire into the other ships with flaming canon balls instead and use them to protect their fleet from a similar situation. It was a semi-risky plan that would reap some reward. Chrom nodded and then focused on announcing it to the rest of the Shepherds. He noticed that Caleb and Robin were talking to one another again and guessed that the finer details of the plan was being put into place. He would leave it to them. He trusted that they would both be doing their absolute best to protect the Shepherds.


Sumia was on deck when Henry came over to see her. The mage was such a big help the entire trip that she couldn't even begin to thank him. He grinned widely and pet Lovebird's nose, the mare snorting a little but appreciating the attention. “Hey Sumia...” Henry began and Sumia tilted her head,

Hello Henry,” She said. “Everything alright?” She asked the mage and Henry grinned,

Robin said we should fight together, 'Like a team' she said,” Henry absently opened his tome and instead focused on it for a moment before looking at Sumia again,

I think that sounds great,” Sumia smiled and Henry seemed happy, “It also means I can repay you for your help too!”

Aww, Sumia you don't have to.” Henry said looking down,

I would still like to.” She smiled, “Have you ever flown on a pegasus before?”

Henry's eyes widened, “No...” The mage said uncertain as to what she was suggesting.

Well then that settles it!” Sumia said with a smile, “I'll take you for a ride after the next battle!”

AWESOME!” Henry cheered and Lovebird snorted again.

It'd be the least I can do.” Sumia smiled and Henry wondered if there was a reason that Sumia was doing this for him.


Meanwhile Caleb and Robin were at last able to give a more defined plan to Chrom. Lucina and Alana had arrived just as the last part of the plan was being put into place. It was decided that there would be a team of fighters working to take out the main vanguard of the commander's vessel. Then once that was done they would go for the jugular and take out the commander himself or herself. They didn't have much information on the commander of the fleet.


As Robin did the last minute checks Caleb was with Lucina both preparing for the battle ahead. Alana was anxious that she was being separated from her parents even for a small while. Though Lucina reassured her daughter that she was going to be safe with Lissa and Anna (the pair being the on duty healers that were protected on the medical ship). They had only just got their armour on when Maribelle arrived to find out what was going on and why Cynthia was preparing to make a trip to the medical ship. Caleb tightened his chest plate as Alana hovered near him nervously bouncing on her toes. Lucina came over to Caleb and said something about a loose strap on her breast plate and Caleb helped her before Maribelle had chance to. He was aware that Maribelle was there but he was more focused on getting ready. He quickly strapped his sword to his side and his tome was placed into its battle holder. He then put on his coat as Lucina finished getting on her vambraces. Alana looked at both her parents and Caleb knew that she wasn't happy, “Don't worry Alana,” He said soothingly, “This won't take long. I promise.”

Pinky pwomise Daddy?” The little girl asked and Caleb said calmly,

We'll make sure to end this fight swiftly Alana.” He hugged the small girl and she sniffled,

B-but I don't want Daddy and Mummy to go! I wants Daddy and Mummy to stay!” The child whimpered and Caleb felt Lucina kneel so that Alana could see her,

I know that it's hard,” Lucina said gently, “and I want you to know that you will be safe with Aunt Lissa and Anna. We don't want you to have to see a battle field Alana.”

B-but...” The girl looked from Caleb to Lucina and then she cried. Caleb kept the girl in a hug and eventually Cynthia came in. She was not her usual bouncy self,

It's time to go Alana.” Cynthia said gently in Plegian and the little girl sniffed,

But Aunty Cynthia why can't Mummy and Daddy stay?! Why do they have to go?” Alana's grasp on Plegian was surprisingly better than her Ylissean.

Because they are going so that you will be safe.” Cynthia replied and Alana reluctantly said goodbye to her parents. Maribelle looked like she was being made to swallow a lemon but she noticed that once the child was gone Lucina put her Falchion on her waist. Caleb and her exchanged a look. Lucina wore a stern expression that Caleb seemed to understand and they left with Maribelle following them; confused as to what the look on Lucina's face meant. Why was Lucina frowning?


Alana and Cynthia arrived on the heavily guarded medical ship just as the small child and stopped crying. She was unsure still as to why her parents had to leave her again and it always set Alana on edge. She didn't like being separated from them.

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Chapter XVII: Turning Point


The medical ship was quiet. There was little to suggest that there was a fight going on elsewhere from here. Alana walked the length of the ship. Her thoughts on her mother and father and hoping that they were ok; even though she knew that battles were a dangerous thing, she remembered how often Master Grima would tell her that. She knew that even if her mother and father were skilled at fighting there was always the chance that they could get hurt. She wasn't sure what was worse. That she couldn't fight alongside them or that they weren't with her now. She didn't have much company on the ship. Aunty Cynthia had left about an hour ago by Alana's estimate and there wasn't much that she could do at that point. She sighed and turned to walk down another corridor below the deck. Alana was for the most part alone. She didn't want to help Lissa however much the young sage had asked her if she wanted to whenever she would pass the Sage. She also refused to stay put when asked giving Alana a slight sense of being in trouble even though it wasn't her parents that had asked her to stay put. She couldn't help but feel worried about the fact that her parents were not at her side. Alana felt safest with them. Without them she felt exposed and in a dangerous place. It was hard to work out what to do about it. She couldn't leave as she didn't have a flying mount. All she could do was pray to Naga that her parents would return safely to her. Alana sighed and decided that she would try to read at least it would keep her busy if not for a small while then until her parents returned. She found a part of the medical ship that was roughly able to house a small girl such as herself without being in the way of the healers. She knew that soon if the battle did not go well the injured would be brought here. She had a good window and for the most part she was able to get in some reading although she was clearly not as focused on that reading as she would normally be. It was hard for Alana as her thoughts kept drifting to her mother and father. She had never known them to be apart from her and she missed them terribly. Alana came to a section that she didn't quite understand what it was trying to say. With a frown she made a note to ask her father about it when he got back. She sighed and kept reading. It was going to be a very long time without her parents. It always was.


Caleb had known that there was going to be a difficult fight ahead without the questions that Maribelle was trying to ask the pair. He sighed and for the hundredth time checked to make sure that his armour was on properly; his tome in its holder and his sword was at his side. Lucina seemed to be doing those checks as well. Robin had gone over the main plan at least three times with everyone and they all knew what they had to do. Caleb watched as each of the Shepherds prepared for the battle ahead. He spotted Cynthia with Brady and had smiled. Those two would be fine as long as they were together. He could hear Severa snapping at Owain to focus on the fight ahead and Kjelle was sharpening her lance blade in the quiet pre battle calm. Yarne was twirling his beast stone in his hand and from what Caleb could see Nah was helping Laurent with his armour. It was nice to see the pair getting on for once and not at each other's throats like they had been in the past. He prayed that they were past all misunderstandings now. It did seem to be so but he would have to find out later as he scanned their little group. Noire came to stand over near Caleb and Lucina and he knew that the young archer was nervous. He also knew that she was one of the best archers out of the Shepherds besides Virion being able to when she wasn't panicking to make an excellent shot.


The quiet was broken as they fought the Valmese. The roar and din of combat a sound that Caleb was all too familiar with caused him to narrow down his focus somewhat. He fought at Lucina's side like normal. The pair didn't have to think. They moved smoothly and easily. Lucina blocked Caleb from getting hurt while he provided some much needed magical support, fending off the Valmese mages who thought that Lucina made for an easy target. They were so in sync with one another that when Lucina ducked Caleb would turn and shot a Thoron spell in that direction and almost take out the opponent that Lucina was facing allowing his wife to deliver the finishing blow to the enemy. Likewise if Caleb was the one to duck any close range opponents would soon feel the bite of Falchion. They were so lost in the dance that they managed to get quite separated from the main group of Shepherds, cutting down the soldiers before them as a smooth team that didn't require any further training to work together. It was hardly surprising then that they were the ones to challenge the General although perhaps Caleb had planned to alter his mother's plan without thinking about it. He knew that he was quite possibly going to get into trouble for it but at that moment he didn't care. The enemy was before them and they had to cut him down.


Caleb was leading with his sword when he felt the strangest thing. It was almost like he was on fire, except he wasn't at the same time. It was like his very mana was burning. Yet it wasn't a painful heat. It was a pleasurable heat. Even stranger was the fact that his tome was still at his side not even opened to the spell that could have made the flames that glowed around him. He gripped the sword in his hand. He didn't hear the general's voice over the roar of the strange flames that surrounded him. The flames were a bluish colour. He saw his move, “Checkmate!” Caleb yelled suddenly as the flames danced around him. He swung his sword and something amazing happened. He couldn't believe his eyes at first but he had actually cut through the general's armour. Lucina was in a state of shock but not wanting to fall behind said,

“Did you forget about me?” She gripped Falchion and stood ready to strike, “Hope will never die!” She hit the general and he grunted from the initial impact. Then in a sudden burst of speed Lucina struck rapidly cutting through the man as if he were little more than butter. His words were lost as the pair turned to face the rest of the soldiers who were desperately trying to get to the fallen and very much dying man.


“Holy shit...” Sully had seen what had happened but even she didn't believe her own eyes, “How in seven hells did the pair of you manage that?” She asked the rather bashful Caleb and Lucina. “That wasn't anything I'd ever seen before...OI! ROBIN! Did ya just see...”

“Yes Sully I saw.” Robin said calmly, or rather as calmly as she could, “Who could have missed the wall of flames.”

They had of course captured a good number of the Valmese ships. Most of the people however had fought to their very last. It was a sad ending for them but as Robin had said the people of Ylisse and Regna Ferox didn't Walhart to rule over them. Even if he was trying to get rid of Grima if that was what the story was with him. Of course it was clear to Robin that there was something she was missing. She had seen that Caleb tended to stay close to Lucina and that was creating a problem with Maribelle. Robin had known that Maribelle clearly did not approve of Caleb and Lucina's relationship. The Valkyrie had complained on numerous occasions that it was Caleb's fault that Lucina wasn't getting along with her. Robin had felt it a groundless accusation but she had decided to humour Maribelle and have Caleb swap from his normal battle partner for the next fight at the very least to get Lucina to at least talk to her own mother. Robin approached the pair with that in mind and noticed that Caleb was seemingly lost in thought perhaps from the battle and trying to work out how he could improve the results of this fight. Robin sighed, “Lucina, can you fight alongside Maribelle for the next battle?”

Lucina frowned and gave Robin a look that was shy of glaring at her, “Why?” Lucina's tone was short and Caleb looked tense,

“Just to see how it will go.” Robin said quickly trying to defuse what was clearly a very unhappy Lucina. Robin noticed that Caleb was less than pleased but he spoke,

“That might not be the soundest choice but I suppose I don't mind if the same can be said of Lucy.”



The rest of the trip was uneventful. Alana was delighted to be back with Caleb and Lucina and had not noticed that her mother was less than pleased about something. She was tucking up into her cabin after her parents had tucked her in for the night. She'd had a story and was sleepy.


Meanwhile Maribelle was waiting for Lucina to turn up for their training as Robin had suggested that they fight together in the next battle and to that end training was an important part of that as it would allow Maribelle an insight into how Lucina fought. It had been a thing of contention ever since Lucina and her friends had come from the future to assist the Shepherds in their fight to stop Grima from being resurrected by the Grimleal. That and Maribelle wanted to get to know her daughter a bit better and perhaps give Maribelle a rare chance to try and convince Lucina that her choice to marry Caleb was a foolish one. For Maribelle it was a fairly simple fact that Caleb was no noble and therefore was not and should not have been allowed to marry Lucina in the first place. Her daughter was a princess and to marry someone like a tactician was just unheard of in the whole history of Ylisse!


So when Robin had told Maribelle that she would be working with Lucina in the next battle; Maribelle had been hopeful to get her daughter to be more prim and proper. Had hoped that she could begin to get the foolish girl to see the truth of the matter and how much her station dictated whom she could marry.


Maribelle had to wonder then why it was that Lucina chose the tactician in the first place. However as she waited for her daughter to arrive Maribelle couldn't help but wonder if there was something she was missing about Caleb.


By the time Lucina did arrive she was half an hour late. It was not a good start. Maribelle had expected there to be some reason as to why Lucina was late but all she got was a mumbled half hearted response. Lucina refused to touch the practice tome that Maribelle had chosen for her and instead focused on cutting the training dummy up into as many pieces as possible. There was no conversation between them as Lucina acted as if Maribelle wasn't there. She sighed and tried to get the young woman's attention with little success. An hour later and Lucina decided that she was done for the day and left. Maribelle wondered if there was something she could say but judging by the set of Lucina's shoulders she was not in the mood to talk. Maribelle was forced to conclude that her daughter had the stubbornness of her father.


Lucina walked to the mess to get her rations. She was not in the mood for idle chatter. Robin's plan had backfired; Lucina was furious that Robin had the gall to suggest that she fight alongside the woman who only spoke of Lucina leaving her husband. The same woman who insisted that Caleb wasn't good enough for Lucina because he wasn't a noble or a prince. Lucina couldn't fathom her mother's foolish reasoning. It angered her to no end and now she was being forced to fight alongside her...by Robin. Whatever the tactician had hoped would happen wasn't going to. Lucina was surprised when she saw Sumia was handing out the dinner rations and she barely managed to thank her. “I've seen that kind of look before,” the dark flier said gently, “Is everything ok Lucina?”

“I...I'm fine,” Lucina responded after a moment and the dark flier did not look convinced, “I'm just...having difficulty with a certain someone about accepting how I...never mind, please forget that I said anything. I wouldn't want to burden you with it.”

“I promise I won't say anything about it to anyone else,” Sumia offered, “Even Chrom and Robin.”

Lucina wavered, “I...I shouldn't talk it about it.” She sighed, “But I suppose some advice would be welcome...although perhaps an ear is more helpful than that.”

“Well how about we have a seat over here and talk, did you want some tea?”

“Tea sounds nice,” Lucina responded and the pair ended up sitting at one of the empty tables. It eventually lead to them talking and while Lucina tried not to reveal anything too major she ended up telling Sumia exactly what the issue was that Lucina was having with her mother. She couldn't help it. Sumia in Lucina's timeline had been one of the few adults that Lucina had trusted outside of her immediate family. She was a very wise woman (although not all of the adults in Lucina's life had thought so) and Lucina had as a child often sort out her council when her parents weren't always able to help her. Sumia had been a good friend of Chrom's and that alone had been a reason to trust her. That and the fact that Sumia was a very good listener compared to Maribelle sometimes. It was fortunate that it was just Sumia and Lucina in the mess hall, otherwise Lucina was sure that everyone would heard her and that thought alone was why she had been so late training. Sumia had said nothing and Lucina wondered at first if that was a bad thing. However when the timetraveller was finished Sumia sighed, “How cruel,” She said at last, “I for one think that it's wonderful that you've followed your heart; don't doubt the pureness of it. From what I can tell you are very dear to Caleb, I honestly believe that much is clear. In this case I would say keep being happy with him at your side, and I am sure that one day your mother will understand that. I can only hope to Naga that she sees it sooner rather than later.”


Meanwhile Caleb was having a much needed bath. He rested in the tub eyes half closed tired. He was having a night off. A well earned night off. He was having a decent bath he decided. No one was bothering him and he was free to enjoy it as long as he wanted it. However he was concerned for Lucina and that was spoiling the mood somewhat. He was still annoyed at what his mother had said. Caleb had not spoken to her since she had practically demanded that Lucina spend time with Maribelle; Caleb knew that was the worst thing possible to do but Robin wasn't going to listen to him. Apparently Maribelle had demanded it and what Maribelle wanted Maribelle got because she always pulled rank to get it. Neither he or Lucina could get Chrom's thought on the matter because Robin had decided for them. Caleb could only guess at what was going to happen. There was doubtless going to be trouble. He knew it. It was only a matter of time before the pair had their inevitable clash. He'd been through it once before and he sure as the seven hells did not want to go through a convoluted version of it again.


Lucina returned to the cabin that she shared with Caleb and noticed that he was sitting on the end of the bed lost in thought. It was hardly surprising. She sighed and almost without thinking sat next to him. They didn't need words. Caleb turned to face Lucina and she instinctively rested her head on his shoulder as he pulled her into an embrace. She buried her face into his chest and spoke quietly, “Caleb...”

“Yes Lucy.” He responded,

“Can we...?” She began and he tilted his head, she leant up and his hold loosened. She didn't want to think about the evening. She surprised him with a kiss. Caleb wasn't sure what it was she was asking but when he saw her half slip out of her tunic he had an idea of what it was she was trying to ask him.

“We can,” He said trying not to chuckle at the question, “Although do we want to have Alana sooner than what she thinks we have?”

“No, not yet...I just...”

Caleb kissed Lucina, “I was teasing love,” he grinned, “Although I do wonder what would happen if we were to...mmmph.”

“Or I suppose we could...well...give Alana a sibling then she wouldn't be so alone when we have to be separated...”

“I don't think right before a war is a good time.” Caleb said still grinning and Lucina suddenly laughed,

“Of course not...however further down the track maybe...”

Caleb would have laughed if not for where his wife's hands were wondering. “I suppose we could have some fun...but we'd have to take care not to conceive a child tonight.” He barely got the words out before a low moan escaped his throat. Lucina hummed in response. That was the hard part. She knew that they were going to have to be more careful now then what they were in the past and it annoyed her. Still she decided that for once she was going to have to do something about it. She didn't know what yet but given how much Caleb was enjoying her ministrations she figured she would think of something that would not only prove to be a distraction for her but also something to help deepen their bond, and of course a way that they could make love without the risk of having a child too soon was important to both of them.


By the time they arrived at Valm it was clear that a tough battle was ahead. Alana was of course once again on the medical ship for her own safety (something that the little girl was not happy about). Caleb was fighting alongside his mother while Lucina was with Maribelle. For the most part Caleb had to fight the urge to act as he did with Lucina. His mother had an entirely different fighting style to his wife. He was off kilter as they made a hefty run to stop the Valmese from flanking them from the shore. It was hard to believe that the town was so lightly guarded as it was. Doubtless there would be more Valmese in the area if they were not already. Taking the city would give them an important foothold for the fighting ahead. Caleb knew this and yet...he couldn't keep his focus on the fight as much as he tried to. He had not noticed that his mother kept shooting him odd looks almost the entire time that they were fighting. Caleb was lost without Lucina at his side. He almost missed an incoming lance. His mother had barely stopped it from hitting him, “STAY FOCUSED CALEB!” His mother yelled at him and Caleb knew that it was almost impossible to so. Robin surely understood what was going on. Even so as Caleb barely registered what was going on he did see that Lucina and Maribelle were in danger. Without thinking he raced forwards. The general this time was a dark knight. Dangerous as he wielded both tomes and swords. From what Caleb could see this man was wielding a fire tome...and not just any fire tome. Arcfire. Caleb knew that there was no way Lucina was going to be able to take a hit from that. He feared the worst as the man began to cast the spell.


It was an understatement to say that Lucina had been off kilter the entire fight. More accurately perhaps was that she completely unable to fight with a clear head. Sure her skill level was enough to keep her reasonably safe. She cut down the enemies in her way without a single spell shot from her mother. And there in lay the problem for Maribelle. She wanted to help Lucina improve as a fighter and in a way get rid of some of the bad blood that had been between them. Lucina had been distracted the entire fight! The worst part was while Maribelle had done her best to try and get Lucina to focus nothing had worked so when she saw a violent flash of magic she had feared the worst...only to find to her complete shock Caleb barely standing up, Thoron tome in hand shaking as he'd taken the brunt of the magic that the Valmese general had thrown at them. Maribelle was shocked and could only watch as the young tactician fell, “CALEB!” Lucina screamed, then she gripped Falchion and yelled, “YOU WILL NOT STOP ME!” And she managed to cut down the man's horse. He panicked as he fell, however Lucina was not done. The man desperately tried to get some distance between himself and the enraged Lucina; she charged forwards, “I SAY WHEN IT ENDS!” she cried as she managed to cut through the man's armour slicing an artery in the process which would lead to a quick but rather painful death for the man. The dark knight fell and Lucina turned to face a shocked Robin and Maribelle. However she wasn't looking at them. She ran to Caleb who had collapsed on the ground. He was lucky to only be knocked unconscious from the force of the spell. His resistance had been the only thing to save him from a far worse case scenario from happening to him.


There was a solemn air in the medical ship as Lissa worked on healing the young tactician who wasn't the only one to get injured in the battle. The damage done was by far however the worst as Caleb lay unconscious. He had taken an Arc spell head on. He was lucky that the spell did not actually do any lethal damage. He was peaceful in a way but there wasn't much peace outside the room. Lissa sighed as she heard yelling. It was clear that there was some form of argument going on and Lissa knew that she couldn't do anything about it. Lucina's voice cut through the door, “THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!”

“Lucina please calm down.” Robin's voice could be heard and it sounded like she was pleading with Lucina. Lissa had a hunch that Lucina was going to yell again and sighed when she heard,


“Darling...” Maribelle's voice sounded through the door,


The door opened and Lucina shut it rather sharply in Robin and Maribelle's faces. She looked almost as bad as Lissa was feeling. The Sage didn't say anything at first, “You know...” Lissa began and Lucina sat in a chair next to Caleb's bed. The tactician was still unconscious,

“Please don't start Aunt Lissa.” Lucina said voice breaking, “I don't want to talk about it. Caleb is what matters right now.”

Lissa sighed and noticed that the tactician seemed to stir, “You shouldn't be fighting with your mother.”

“I said I don't want to talk about it.” Lucina snapped and Lissa could only think of her brother

“You don't want to keep bottling it up.” Lissa said to her niece,

“I said...”

“That you don't want to talk about it I know.” Lissa said, “Gods you are as stubborn as Chrom can be sometimes. I'm just saying you don't want to leave any bad blood between you and your mother.”

“Then why don't you tell her that.” Lucina shot back at Lissa and the sage blinked in surprise, “Or maybe it's because she hates Caleb.”

“Lucina I don't think...”

“But don't you see Aunt Lissa?” Lucina suddenly spoke in a tone that told Lissa that the young woman had enough, “Even when we were children mother was always like 'don't go near him darling...' or 'why don't you play with Inigo he's the son nobleman after all?' or 'Darling surely you would much rather play with your brother'.” Lissa was in a state of shock but it seemed that Lucina wasn't finished, “And let's not forget the first words she said when I came to the Shepherds, 'Why on earth would you marry a Plegian?'.” Lissa felt sad hearing Lucina speak of Maribelle like she was however the Sage guessed that this wasn't just the Maribelle that was here in the present. She had a sinking feeling this was the Maribelle that Lucina had known as a child. Lissa didn't know what to say. She watched as Lucina took Caleb's hand into her own, “She never once asked me why I didn't like Inigo, or why I didn't always want to play with Brady and Owain. She never seemed to care about the fact that ever since I was born Caleb was the one looking out for me. He was the one that was there for me when my father died. He was the one that tried to do his best to keep me safe. He was the one that was truly my closest friend...” Lucina shook slightly and Lissa realised that her niece was trying not to cry. Lissa wasn't sure what to do. She couldn't believe it when Caleb groaned in agony, “Caleb...”


He heard Lucina's voice...he tried to wake but it was hard. He kept hearing whispers, they asked the same question, 'Why do you resist me?' Caleb was uncertain as to what they meant by that. He groaned and felt his eyes open, blinding light initially making it difficult to make out Lucina who he knew was holding his right hand; his vambrace was missing. “Lucy...” Caleb croaked and he saw Lucina smile at him,

“Thank the gods,”

“Lucy...” Caleb struggled to get up and Lucina supported him,

“You're alright Caleb,” She said, “I'm here and I'm not leaving your side.”


“She is safe,” Lucina reassured him,

“Good,” He smiled weakly, “That's good news...was I? Was I....out for long?”

“No,” Lucina said as Lissa went to get her staff, “You were barely out for three hours.”

Caleb knew that Lissa was using her staff and he tried not to cry out in pain. The muted cry was enough however for Lucina to know it hurt...a lot. Caleb knew that sometimes a healing staff caused a nice feeling, usually on small wounds that would heal quickly. Larger wounds would hurt to start with. However the pain would fade after a while. He knew when Lissa was almost done with him when the pain faded away. The door opened again and he noticed that Alana was clearly upset whoever it was that had tried to hold her back hadn't done a good enough job,

“DADDY!” Alana practically whimpered as she ran over to him and Lucina. Caleb moved and Lissa sighed. He sat on the edge of the bed and Lucina let go of his hand as Alana came and threw her arms around him, crying into his shirt. Caleb couldn't help wincing as she did so. He pet her head gently,

“I'm alright Alana,” he said to his sniffling daughter, “Lissa has been taking good care of me. As has your mother.”

Lucina pat Alana's back as Lissa finished the last of the healing she could do for the time being, “Caleb you'll need to rest for a couple of days.” Lissa spoke with a serious tone, “I don't want you overdoing it alright.”

“Of course Lissa,” Caleb said wincing as Alana hugged him even harder than before.

“You were very lucky buster.” Lissa said firmly, “But next time-”

“Try to be more careful, I know Lissa.” Caleb said with a rueful grin, “You're not the only one to say that to me.” Lissa was surprised.

“Caleb!” Lucina rebuked her husband and he smiled. Of course he managed to pull Lucina into a surprise kiss. When they broke apart Lissa sighed,

“Yes well, please do keep that in mind young man.” She responded. The door opened and Robin came in with Maribelle,

“Caleb are you-”

“I'm fine Mother,” Caleb said, “My coat took most of the force.”

“Ah...I forgot that our coats were immune to magic damage.”

“That is kind of the point though Mother.” Caleb sighed and Maribelle had to wonder why Caleb was so calm. He continued, “At any rate we can't rest on our loins.”

“Caleb I told you-”

“To take it easy. Sorry Lissa but I can't just sit back and not at least help. I'll be fine.”

“Caleb...” Lucina looked at him worried but Caleb it seemed was focused,

“Right now we have to secure the port if we haven't already. And we're going to need to start creating a supply line to Archanea as soon as possible. Mother?”

“He's right,” Robin sighed, “we do need to get that sorted and work on the next stage of our plan.”

“Yes but...” Lissa began,

“I know. Gods I know.” Robin frowned. She gave her son a stern look then she sighed defeated, “I need to speak with Caleb. Alone.”

Lucina frowned, “To berate him?” She said frowning, “That's hardly fair!”

“...” Robin raised an eyebrow, unable to say anything for the moment.

“Lucina...” Maribelle spoke and Lucina threw a glare at her mother, “Please, we need to respect Robin's-”

“Don't worry about it.” Caleb spoke, “She can say what she wants in Plegian if that is what she wants to do. Hell it's not like she doesn't have the right to.” He sighed. “After all I did break formation and got myself hurt as a result.”

“Caleb...” Robin winced as she realised that he'd known exactly what she was thinking. She let out a heavy sigh. She should have known better than to stop the pair from working together her son looked at her and said irritably in Plegian,

And who's side are you even on Mother,” He looked annoyed, “I didn't think you of all people would fall so easily when rank is pulled!”

“CALEB!” She gasped and then realised that Caleb was every bit annoyed as Lucina had been with the battle pair mix up. Her son just wasn't as obvious about it. Which was frighteningly like Validar, the only difference was that her son didn't have the same hubris as Validar had. She supposed that was the only good to come of raising Caleb away from Plegia. She frowned at him, “What are you talking about?”

Don't be so stupid,” Caleb snapped in Plegian, “You know what I'm talking about. Ten to one that idea to switch battle partners was Maribelle's idea and you did it without thinking on the possible consequences. You thought it would mark a turning point between them, that they would have less reasons to argue with one another AND help begin an understanding between them. How naïve.”

Caleb...” Robin sighed and realised that he was making a fairly accurate guess. “I suppose you're right. I might be naïve to think that a battle might change things,” Maribelle looked at Robin and Lucina was not pleased as she didn't like where Robin was going with her present line of thought,

“Did you even think to ask me how I felt about this?!” Lucina snapped suddenly and Robin jolted, “Or to consider how I feel about it?”

“Lucina...” Maribelle was taken aback by Lucina's harshness towards Caleb's mother,

“No, I didn't,” Robin admitted, “Perhaps there in lies the problem. You are too stubborn; like Chrom I should have known better than to better than to force the issue. I just felt that family should get along.”

“Maybe that is the problem here...for both of you.” Caleb sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “You're too busy trying to force your 'ideal image' on both of us that your losing sight of what is really important. That and you have no idea of what we've been through.” Robin looked at her son now and saw an expression that she never wanted to see on his face again. It was a pained expression that made her feel awful. But she realised his words were not aimed at her. She looked at Maribelle and noticed that her friend had her hands clenched at her sides, “We had to live without you, BOTH of you. For gods know how many years since Grima...” Caleb's voice cracked, Lucina unconsciously grabbed his hand. Robin felt sick. She came to a sudden realisation and that realisation wasn't good. Out of the corner of her eye Robin could see Lissa was close to tears. She had known more than they did apparently.

“Perhaps...Maribelle, care to come with me for a bit?” Robin asked, “Lissa, you too please.”

“R-right!” Lissa agreed and Maribelle nodded,

“We'll need to talk later Caleb,” Robin said

“Fine.” He said shortly and Robin winced. She did not expect him to be so harsh. In a way she felt it was as Chrom had said. One hell of an adjustment for the pair that were in the room...not to mention the others. Robin should have listened to Chrom. And she would have to try and change things for the better.

Edited by TheSilentChloey

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Chapter XVIII: Risks and Rewards

Chrom sighed as he heard what happened. It didn't surprise him that Caleb had gotten hurt nor had Lucina blaming Maribelle for Caleb getting hurt. He had said that Lucina and her friends needed time to adjust to being in the Shepherds and he was right. He sighed as he listened to Robin. He could see her frustration as much as he could see Caleb's. He sighed, “Then how about you let Caleb and Lucina take care of their comrades and act as their own unit?” Chrom said to the tactician, “That is what I would be doing in this case and I am more than certain that is what they need at this point in time.”

“Gods Chrom.” Robin groaned, “Do you really want to give your wife more ammunition against my son?”

“No, Robin. You are going to listen to me.” Chrom said firmly, “I am the one who makes the final call. This is my decision. If Maribelle takes an issue with it that is her problem to take up with me. I don't see why she should be complaining about who Lucina has chosen. It's clear to me that she has a good man at her side. I know what the problem is. Let me deal with this one, alright?”

“But Chrom...”

“No buts Robin, this one is on me.” Chrom spoke calmly, “Besides Caleb will still be assisting you, just not taking orders from you. I'm sure you can manage with that can't you Robin?”

“O-of course I can Chrom.”

“Good, next time if you're going to make any changes to the battle pairs ask me first.” Chrom said with a wave as he left the room. Robin sighed. She could not believe him sometimes. However she knew better than to argue with him. Chrom did have a knack for reading people that quite frankly Robin herself did not have. While he might not be much of a strategist like her he had something she didn't. Perhaps Robin would leave the issue of Lucina not getting along with her mother to him. He seemed to know what to do about it.


Meanwhile in Caleb and Lucina's tent there was a calm movement of activity. Lucina was preparing for the fact that Caleb would be leaving with some of the Shepherds on a scouting mission. Try as she might Lucina didn't feel happy about it. Her father had been by earlier and had specifically asked Caleb to do the task. He wouldn't be alone as several of the other Shepherds would be with him but that did little to ease Lucina's worry. Alana was in her bed roll asleep. She had not been happy to find out that her father was going to be leaving them but Caleb had calmed her promising to be as swift as he could be. A scouting mission was simply that. They needed to be quick to report the enemies' position.


It was the early hours in the morning when Caleb arrived at the meeting point. His mother and Chrom were there as well as Maribelle, Sully, Sumia and Donnel. He frowned and realised that there was a member missing of the party and he turned to see Gregor behind him. Caleb tried not to yawn, lest Maribelle make a remark about that. Sully stroked her mare's mane and Sumia was busy checking on Lovebird's gear. Caleb noticed that she seemed nervous and he couldn't blame her in the slightest.

“Ah you're all here, good.” Robin said taking stock of who had arrived for the mission. She calmly continued, “Your mission today is to scout the surrounding area. We don't need heroics we just need to find out if there is any Valmese in the area. Knowing that will help to plan out our next move. Now are there any questions?” Caleb sighed and shouldered his pack

“How long is this going to take?” Sully shot at the tactician, “A week? Two days?”

“Hopefully no more than a week.” Robin said, “Each of you will be working in pairs with a mount each. Caleb, I'll need you to coordinate the group.”

Caleb sighed, “Right, meaning?”

“Meaning you're going to be sorting out who is with who for this mission. There are two paths I want scouted on the map.” Robin explained to him, “Here,” She pointed to what looked like a very open area making Caleb frown, “and here.”

“Then we scout the narrower path. Seems more likely to have an ambush,” He said, “Though being in the open could allow for cavaliers and riders on mounts to move much faster...also running the risk of archers.” He looked at each of the people present and spoke, “Alright, Sully and Sumia, you two take the more open pathway. Worst cast scenario there are archers there which means Sumia that you'll be supporting Sully.” Caleb studied the map again, “Maribelle, Gregor, you're both with me. This path seems the most likely for an ambush but we can also choke them if the worst case scenario is true. However doubtless we'll also need to retreat if that is the case. At least with that choke point we can limit how the enemy will approach us. Assuming again that they are not riding wyverns, pegasi or griffins. I would suggest carrying wind and thunder tomes as it will maximise our safety margins should we come across either type of enemy.”


The trip for Caleb was difficult to say the least. Maribelle hadn't been too pleased with his train of thought but it had been for the best. He said nothing and made a note of the terrain as best he could. Gregor proved to be more welcome company and Caleb found himself talking with the merc about how to make use of the sword (“Gregor is using his blade in clean state to be better and keep with the sharpening to make it effective”). Caleb however could not say the same of Maribelle. With a sigh he prepared for the night. He made do with a cold meal and curled into his bedroll. Gregor had promised to take first watch so Caleb decided that he would rest as much as possible to take the next watch. The young tactician however did not find sleep as easily as he hoped.


By the time he had fallen asleep he had the strangest dream. A dream that he was seated on a throne of the likes of which he'd never seen before. At his side was Lucina wearing a grim expression on her face. It was almost like they barely knew one another. Caleb wondered what was going on and struggled to get up. His body not moving in the slightest. He tried to call out to her and move. Yet he couldn't. A familiar voice spoke and Caleb felt fear settle in, “Why do you resist me? Come, give me your power...merge with me and rule the world like a god!

Caleb tried to scream, tried to fight back. He struggled to see what was going on.


“AHHH!” Caleb screamed panting heavily covered in a cold sweat. He was shaking and Gregor had his hand on his sword,

“Oi, be keeping with the voice down.” The merc said tensely,

“S-sorry,” Caleb responded still shaking,

“Would give position away yes?” Gregor asked Caleb as Maribelle glared at the still shaken tactician, “Though Gregor knows when sleep is hard.”

Caleb winced and hastened to get up, “S-sorry...I...”

“Come now,” Maribelle said less than pleased, “With a yell like that I'm surprised that the Valmese haven't found us already.”

“Oi! No biting of the tones. Is bad. Tactician needs kindness.” Gregor countered, “Is like a frightened child no?” Caleb looked down embarrassed, “Rough night with the making of fears?”

Caleb sat down and sighed in defeat, “I suppose so.”

“Was making with the screaming so must be.” Gregor said, “Gregor thinks tactician should be making with the sleeping still.”

Caleb winced, “I can't...” He held his head in his hands, “I...I don't...”

Maribelle's frown softened in the dim light of the moon. Thankfully there wasn't any Valmese in the area. She was confused with what Gregor was saying but the gist of it was clear. Caleb apparently had a nightmare, if his screaming was any indication.


The next morning was trying. They had found some worrying signs that had Caleb trying not to quake with fear. There had been an enemy encampment half a day from where they were. However there were signs that Caleb knew. He felt his breath quicken with fear. He grabbed Gregor by the arm to stop him from walking forward, “Risen...” Caleb said shakily and Maribelle frowned,

“What?” She asked,

Caleb gulped, “There were risen here...last night I know it.” Caleb struggled to get his breathing under control again.

“They seem to be making with the leaving.” Gregor said about to walk forwards again when Caleb's grip tightened, “Is safe to investigate-”

“No it's a trap.” Caleb said suddenly. “We need to get out of here as fast as we can! They're likely hiding in the...AHH!” Caleb felt the all too familiar white hot pain in his head and was forced to grip it tightly in his hands. The pain was worse than normal and he could barely make out the glowing red eyes in the trees just ahead of them.

“What the...” Maribelle spoke shaking now as she too saw them.

“Is bad...” Gregor spoke,

“We're going to have to use pair up!” Caleb said sharply, “Maribelle I want you to support Gregor! I'll do what I can to draw them out of the trees. Gregor stay close. We've got to retreat carefully. Hopefully they won't notice us but if they do...well let's just hope that we're not going to run into trouble.”


Sumia and Sully had found a Valmese encampment about the same time that Caleb was dealing with the risen. It was decided that they would return to camp when Sumia saw a signal from her vantage point in the sky. She hastily landed near Sully and said, “Sully, Caleb's group are in trouble! They've encountered risen!”

“What the hell?!” Sully exclaimed, “Then we need to get there! Any idea where there is a path?”

“I think I saw one up ahead. We'll need to move quickly.”

“Damn right we do.” Sully agreed and she kicked her mare into a gallop after Sumia. They were not sure what risen they would find but it was hoped that they would make it in time before anything serious happened.


The risen had unfortunately noticed them. Caleb was almost sure that they could escape unnoticed but when the roar of the leader of the risen sounded Caleb knew that hope was lost and they would have to fight their way out of it. The risen would keep coming otherwise and Caleb did not want them anywhere near camp. He grit his teeth as he worked out the most efficient way to take them out. He decided that he was going to have to use his Thoron tome. Maribelle and Gregor had not been in this kind of situation before and he knew that. At best they had only seen a few risen skirmishes each and Caleb knew that the goal was to get out of it alive and still able to fight on. He was surprised when he heard the sound of hooves and feared that the risen were flanking them until two familiar faces showed up, “Sully! Sumia!” He cried in surprise as the Great Knight and Dark Flier arrived, “Thank gods! We need to create a choke point! Now!”

“Got ya covered Caleb!” Sully said gripping her lance in hand, “You ready Sumia?”


“Right then let's give these ash faced freaks something to remember!”

“Hold Sully!” Caleb called out, “We need to be careful. Sumia, can you take the perimeter for me?”

“Can do.” Sumia replied,

“Sully I need you and Maribelle to head for that tree line to the west. I want those risen flanked and out manoeuvred. Gregor and I will take any stragglers down that get in our way.” Caleb said quickly assessing what to do. “With both of your mobility it should be enough to chip into their numbers which with Sumia taking the perimeter should limit their movement further. Be careful and don't over do it.”


Caleb and Gregor quickly got into position as Maribelle and Sully did as Caleb had asked. True to what the young tactician thought there were some risen that got through Sumia's attacks. Caleb focused on getting himself to take out the risen that were not playing the game. He then turned to face Gregor and saw Sumia swoop down and take out a risen mage. He frowned and saw that Sully was having no trouble with the risen archers that came her way thanks to her javelin. Maribelle made for a good support and occasionally the Valkyrie made a few decent hits on some of the risen. Caleb watched carefully and saw something he did not want to see. “Come on Gregor! We've got to go and help over there! It looks like we've got an ally over there that's hurt!”


Gerome groaned in pain as the arrow wound he'd got to the shoulder stopped him from getting Minerva to safety. He had thought himself a fool and that fate would have its due when a familiar bolt of magic shot through the risen archer that would have finished the Wyvern rider. “You gods damn fool!” Gerome snapped when he realised who it was,

Yeah...good to see you too Gerome. Sorry you had to get hurt like that.”

Shut up!” Gerome snapped at the tactician “I don't...”

Actually you do. Lucina told me to find you...and to bring you back kicking and screaming if I had to.” Caleb said and Gerome grunted,

So she's here...why are you with...”

Long story, but Lucina's plan didn't work as well as she hoped and we're going to need your strength...we've hit a slight problem.”

Hmph,” Gerome grunted, “I suppose I am a fool. Minerva shall you join me in this fight?” The young man asked his wyvern. The creature let out a bellow and the young man sighed, “Very well. Let's ride.”


Meanwhile Gregor watched the exchange between the two young men, surprised when the rider tried to climb onto his wyvern only to almost fall off it in the process. He was even more surprised when Caleb clucked his tongue and moved to help the rider get back into the saddle, “Come on Gerome let's get you to a healer alright.”

Fine.” Gerome said and Gregor got a decent look at him. The rider wore dark coloured armour but it was clear that he was Valmese. His hair was short and a slight pinkish hue. The mask he wore seemed to hide his face quite well. It also seemed to the merc that the young man knew the tactician. If the fact that Caleb had called out to the man by name was an indication.


Thankfully the risen were taken out fairly easily thanks to Caleb's strategy. Maribelle healing their newest companion of his injuries while Caleb checked in with Sully and Sumia to know what the pair had come across. Of course it was as the tactician had guessed. The Valmese were guarding the road that Robin had intended to use. As well as the road that Caleb had just scouted...although the risen had killed them all. According to Gerome it was worse in the Wyvern Valley. He said bandits had set up shop there and he'd not freed Minerva there as he'd initially planned given that they were capturing the wyverns for some sickening plot. Caleb sighed, “Then we're going to have to report to Mother...” He frowned, “Gerome is there anything else you can tell us?”

No.” The young man was not one for talking more than needed and Caleb knew that. The tactician sighed,

Then we'll leave for the main camp at first light. The sooner we report what is going on the better.”

The trip back was thankfully uneventful. No more risen threatened them and Gerome was making a steady recovery. Caleb wasn't surprised that the wyvern rider wasn't complaining about the current situation. He was as calm as he could be. Caleb had done what he could to ease Gerome into the group but it was clear that was going to take some time. They were lucky the mission took a week. For Caleb it was trying. He missed Lucina and Alana and was glad to be returning to them. Gregor had apparently promised to help Miriel with something or other upon his return and as Caleb and Gerome headed to the main tent Sully commented that she was going to make sure that her horse was groomed to perfection. Sumia had gone with her and Caleb was surprised when Maribelle had followed suit. Gerome had followed Caleb to where the Shepherds' wyverns were kept. Present Minerva was contently eating her dinner and Caleb watched as the Minerva he knew settled into her stall with a sigh. Gerome had made sure to fill her bowl with some food while Caleb watched. The tactician didn't say a word and didn't need to. Gerome finally spoke, “Shouldn't you be reporting to Chrom or Robin.”

Well I assumed that you wanted to come with me but if that isn't the case, sure I should. However I also owe you a debt.”

Hmph.” Gerome grunted, “You owe me nothing.”

Keep telling yourself that.” Caleb said sternly.

Then what?” Gerome said sharply. “You know as well as I do...”

So you want to avoid them huh?” Caleb said as the future Minerva sniffed at him, “Sure that's one way to go about it. But that isn't the only way as I have said before.”

You would have us change things further?” Gerome asked Caleb incredulously,

No, not change things further...just tip the scales in their favour is all.”

And you honestly believe we can do that?”

I do Gerome.” Caleb sighed, “I also know more than anyone else how much it hurt you to lose your parents. Especially since...since we weren't...” Caleb turned away and Gerome sighed,

You think us being here changes that much?”

Gerome...” Caleb turned to face the young man. Then he sighed


Look is Minerva comfortable? You will need to meet Chrom.”

She will be for the time being.”

Alright then, let's go.”

Caleb and Gerome eventually arrived to the main war meeting tent. Robin saw them coming and frowned in confusion upon seeing Gerome. It was hardly surprising given that Gerome was to Robin a new face. Caleb waited for a moment then guided Gerome inside. Chrom was seated listening to Maribelle talk about the mission with Sully and Sumia. Gregor had been there a while and Caleb was certain that his mother was actually waiting for him. Gerome took one look at Chrom. The prince spoke with Gerome and Caleb tuned it out. He made to leave if not for Chrom to say calmly, “So Caleb, which path do you think we should travel to get to the Mila Tree.”

Caleb would have groaned in annoyance but he spoke calmly,

The narrow one. True it won't allow as much room to manoeuvre but we will be better able to protect ourselves from the enemy. And according to what Sully and Sumia told me the Valmese have an ambush waiting for us to use that point.”

Robin sighed irritated but she knew that her son was right. She noticed that he was awfully keen to leave them however and she was certain that Chrom noticed this as well. The bluenette gave a nod and Caleb took it as his signal to leave. Robin swore she had never seen her son move so fast to get out of the tent. Robin groaned as she realised exactly where he was going. Fifty gold wasted. She was mad at Chrom for even making that bet with her since they both knew the outcome. Though Robin had hoped that Caleb wouldn't have been quite so fast to leave.


Having escaped the strategy tent Caleb let out a sigh of relief. He knew he should have stayed a little longer but he really missed Lucina and Alana. He wanted to make sure that they were fine. He was about half way through the camp when he ran into Kellam and Gaius. The pair stopped when they saw Caleb and he spoke with them for a while. Lucina was as ever at the training grounds apparently. With Alana which Caleb considered to be good luck. He thanked them and went on his way.


Looks like Blue was right.” Gaius said with a grin, “Bubbles is seeking out his lady and Bubbles junior.”

W-well of course he would.” Kellam said, “It seems to me like they're all really close.”

Darn it I gotta think of a new name for Blue's daughter than Blue junior,” Gaius grumbled and Kellam said,

How about Lucina? That is her name right?”

Correction nickname.” Gaius replied.


Caleb arrived just as Lucina and Alana had finished for the day. Alana was the first to see him and practically dropped her sword, “DADDY!” Caleb was quick to brace for impact as his daughter flew across the training grounds and her little arms found his middle,

I'm back.” Caleb said patting his daughter's head, “I missed you too Alana.” Caleb said then he sort Lucina's eyes and she smiled.


She of course handled herself with a tad more dignity than Alana had coming to stand by Caleb calmly after sheathing her training blade. She kissed him and he felt relieved. He was glad to be back safely as glad as Lucina was that he was back. Alana let go of Caleb and then she giggled as she saw her mother kiss her father. What she didn't know was that there were a set of eyes on them. Her other grandmother, Maribelle saw in full what was going on. She wasn't the only one. Chrom was there with Robin grumbling. She handed over fifty gold in a pouch and said scathingly, “You had better enjoy it while you can. I will win the next bet!”

If you say so Robin,” Chrom smiled, “If you say so.”


Alana was so excited that her father had come back that it took her a little longer to go to sleep. She was so excited that it was decided that for the time being she would be allowed to read a book until she felt sleepy enough. Caleb kissed his daughter's forehead and with Lucina bade the girl good night.


The next morning saw Caleb and Lucina prepare to head out with the rest of the Shepherds. They had for the most part not a whole lot of tasks to do before they moved from their current camp to the next camp. Robin had come and talked with Caleb about a few details that she wanted to know while Lucina had been working alongside Caleb to make sure that their tent and bedroll were stowed away neatly. Caleb was about halfway through what he needed to do when he saw Chrom come over as well. Caleb sighed and waited to see what Chrom had to say.


As it turned out there wasn't much that needed to be said. Not being the main tactician was useful in some sense as Caleb didn't have to do all the last minute checks that his mother had to. He was curious to see what she had planned and while he didn't have a chance to talk with her; he knew she would let him know what she needed him to do, even if they had argued about the details of how they were doing the task.


The trip was quiet. Mostly because Caleb was busy keeping alongside his wife, tome at the ready should battle break out. Lucina had kept Falchion at her side. It was there so that she was ready for anything that might happen. With their little group was Owain, Severa, Cynthia, Brady as well as Noire and Gerome. Alana was sleeping in the wagon as the young one had not been able to sleep the night before.


By the time they set up camp Caleb was working on checking their supplies for his mother, a task that required him to check over the weapons in this particular case. He'd just finished with the tomes and was about to move onto the medicinal stock when he felt a familiar embrace, “Are you finished with that yet love?” Lucina's voice spoke into his back and Caleb put down his notebook and replied,

“Almost Lucy,” He smiled and enjoyed her embrace.

We won't be disturbed for a while.” Lucina spoke calmly,

Well that's a relief, I suppose I should make sure that I get the last of this done although I doubt Mother would notice much I...hng...” Caleb was little able to think straight as Lucina made it clear what her intentions were. He made a half hearted attempt to stop her, “Lucy we should...haa, get to our t-hng.”

I did mention that we wouldn't be disturbed.” Lucina seemed to sound rather pleased with herself and Caleb felt her gentle ministrations stirring the fire that he didn't want to be stirred so soon. Caleb decided that he'd had enough and managed to turn so that he could face her. Without warning he kissed her and she relaxed, the young tactician knew what he was planning was risky but he was at the point where he was more than willing to ease the heat she had stirred. He heard the dull thuds of vials hitting the dirt doubtless knocked by him bumping the shelf with his left leg. They were not broken and Caleb knew that he would have to clean them up later. Right now he didn't care. Right now he wanted nothing more than to have some intimacy with Lucina.


The kisses the pair exchanged were firey and it wasn't long before clothing was hastily lowered as the young couple wanted nothing more than to ease their desire. Lucina let out a low moan when finally Caleb entered her. She used one of the full crates to balance herself as the pair quickly hit a rhythm of movement that had them both muffling their moans of pleasure with kisses while what clothing remained served to make the pair drenched in sweat. Caleb knew that they were taking a risk by doing what they were doing. Literally and in two different regards. One would be them getting caught, the other...Caleb felt himself close to that edge and knew he would have to stop. However Lucina didn't show any signs of letting him pull out quite yet. He groaned and decided to let the bones fall as they would. They were a married couple for gods' sakes. It would be expected of them to eventually have children. Even if Maribelle didn't approve of them it was going to happen at some point. He felt Lucina grip his shoulders even tighter than before and knew that she was close.


With the young couple sated for a time they hastened to clean the tent up hiding their tryst at least partly. Caleb had completed the task set by his mother and he and Lucina went to the mess hall. Neither showed any sign of what had transpired between them. Robin none the wiser; Caleb gave her a neat list of the inventory and Lucina had got them both something to eat. Caleb joined her and Alana for dinner as the usual chatter filled the tent.

Edited by TheSilentChloey

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Chapter XIX: Naga's Voice


It was a quiet night as the cold winds blew across the desert sands of Plegia. At least to the figure who was sat out underneath the stars with the all too familiar blue haired puppet that he was so fond of. He had nothing to concern himself with as he was presently enjoying the cool air. He'd seen enough of what his vessel was up to and quite frankly he had enjoyed the show. The scrying orb was long since dispelled and Grima could help but want to enjoy himself even more. He however wasn't in the mood for sex. Blood however was most certainly on his menu of entertainment. With a grunt he rose, body stiffer than what it had once been. He would wait he decided for the vessel to grow further. After all Grima knew it was a matter of time before it was ready. The fruit was with it and the intruder. Grima paused as he had a thought. Perhaps he could claim his vessel and the intruder. It would give him a lot more fun and if what he thought was likely to happen...he laughed amused. His puppet moved for the curtain as the door suddenly opened. Grima's eyes glowed crimson and he glared at the person standing in the doorway.

Master Grima,” The figure said, “we have caught the rebels as requested.” He noticed that the man was bowed and let out another round of laughter,

Ah, such wonderful news.” Grima smiled, “Then bring them to me. Their blood will be perfect.” He laughed again and the young man shivered. There were two things you did not do around Master Grima he knew. One was to disobey his orders the other was to interrupt him. The young acolyte waited and Grima spoke, “Well boy what are you waiting for? Get them bought here!”

A-at once Master Grima!” The acolyte fled the scene glad to be clear of Grima. The cleric shuddered from her spot behind the curtain and Grima let out a feral grin. Yes he would have quite a lot of fun tonight.


Caleb was surprised when Chrom chose to meet him in for the second watch. The pair were quiet for a while until Chrom had a surprise for the tactician, “Caleb. I have a favour to ask of you.” Chrom began, “I know how hard it has been for you to adjust to Robin's way of doing things.”

It's not about how hard it is to adjust...” Caleb said weakly and Chrom looked at him with a raised eyebrow, “It's about how little she knows. I don't want to be condescending but it has been coming to my attention at least that Mother...well she doesn't have the best read on people. I truly don't like arguing with her over simple things like who should be with who. As a tactician it's our job to stay impartial and to do what works with people. I know that she is only trying to help but sometimes you have to let people to decide for themselves if they want to form bonds or not. That's why...that's why I swore I'd stay out of Lucina and Maribelle's argument.”

So you knew?” Chrom asked gently,

Gods damn right I knew!” Caleb sighed, “I knew from the beginning that things would go rough with Lucina and Maribelle because I knew what Maribelle was like in our time. Better than any of the other children. I...I couldn't stand the fact that she was one of the first to fall. Part of me wished she hadn't...but there is no point in dwelling on that. I want to make sure that things are different this time. However I can tip the scales to our favour I will! I just...” Caleb looked down.

Chrom understood where the young tactician was coming from, “You feel like you can't help much, right?”

Yeah.” Caleb spoke softly not realising that he and Chrom were not the only ones in the area. Robin flinched as she heard what her son was saying but she couldn't bring herself to reveal that she was present, “I mean what else can I do. I went through the loss of the only family I had at fourteen. Lucina was lucky she had Lissa and Ric-er...hmm I suppose it was bound to come up sooner or later...” Caleb muttered

You mean Lissa didn't marry Lon'qu?” Chrom prompted and Caleb sighed,

I wasn't going to say anything but...” He let out a heavy sigh, “Yes, she didn't marry Lon'qu because in our time Lon'qu died in the arena at Regna Ferox. There was nothing at the time that would have saved him. In the end it was a tragedy that couldn't be avoided. In the end Lissa ended up marrying Ricken. Mostly because they agreed to it and it was to help Ylisse heal after the war.”

I see, and you didn't say anything because?” Chrom prompted and Caleb lent back and looked up at the sky,

Imagine you're Lissa.” Caleb said, “she loves Lon'qu and is happy with him.” Caleb explained, “Do you really want to put her through the heartache of having to chose between what her station demands and what her heart wants? And what of Ricken? How would he feel knowing that he was supposed to be forced to marry someone? It's not the right thing to do.”

That is one way of looking at it.” Chrom stated

It is.” Caleb admitted, “Then again I can't say for certain how anyone would feel.”

You make a fair guess of it.” Chrom said surprised at how perceptive Caleb was.

I suppose I do.” Caleb agreed.


The next morning saw Caleb heave a sigh as they prepared to take on the Valmese force at the Mila Tree. Apparently their commander according to Say'ri's intelligence was a man by the name of Cervantes a hulking general who had yet to lose a battle if her reports were to be believed. However seeing how little strategy they seemed to use Caleb was sure the victories came from something other than tactics. Caleb knew that was going to change however. He wondered if there was a specific reason that he knew it. With a sigh he resigned himself to the task that Chrom had set him. He was focusing on coordinating with the Shepherds. Lucina of course lead the Future Shepherds and for Caleb it was a step back into what he was used to. A task that he was well suited to. Yet it was strange that Chrom had made this change happen. Caleb had to wonder what he was thinking but who was he to argue with Chrom? The man had of course the final say with everything. So as Caleb made sure that everyone was ready he also noticed that his mother was acting odd. He however didn't have time to talk with her as his required duties kept him busy.




The Valmese had been waiting for the Ylisseans to come for weeks ever since they heard that their port had fallen. Cervantes was prepared for them, his men were ready for them and in fact the general was sure that they would buckle right at the Mila Tree. His men had a high moral and that meant that the fight would be an easy one. So why was it then when he saw such a small number of Ylissean troops did he feel the soft tendrils of fear in his gut? Their forces were nothing to his own and his beard made him invincible. Little did Cervantes realise that he was about to be handed a defeat by the likes of which he'd never had.




Caleb was about halfway through his planning for the up coming battle when he was approached by Maribelle. He at first thought little of it and was trying to find the chink in the Valmese formation that was present according to the information that Chrom had given him. And he also was paying attention to what his mother was planing as well so that he could keep things as smooth as possible. When he finally did look up from his battle plans it was to stretch, “Ah...Maribelle is there anything I can help with?” He did not expect all that much from her but that she was seeing him was something to note.

Well,” Maribelle said “We had a new ally just arrive.” She said,

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you think I should know who-”

Of course you should!” said a familiar and annoying voice that Caleb tried not to hate too much,

Inigo...great...” He tried to smile but it looked more like a grimace, “How...nice it is to see you...” Caleb couldn't hide his distaste for Inigo's more...annoying flirtatious behaviour. The young grey haired mercenary smirked,

Still playing with dusty old books I see.” The young man's verbal jab wasn't lost on Caleb,

Ah yes, and still the same disregard for your manners as ever.” Caleb shot back making Maribelle feel as if she were about to actually see a fight happen. As it was Caleb remained calm. “I'm sure Nah will be quite happy to keep at your side again.” Caleb said with a thinly veiled threat.

You won't dare!” Inigo said going bright red,

Well she is the only one that tolerates you so yes...yes I do dare.” Caleb said calmly. It was a headache worth going through if it kept Inigo out of trouble, “And since it was Lucy's request, I have no choice in the matter but to oblige her.”

You son of a...” Inigo muttered still red,

Run along now Inigo,” Caleb said calmly, “you don't want to keep your battle partner waiting.”

The mercenary muttered something under his breath and left. Maribelle blinked in surprise at the exchange and watched as Caleb began working on his strategy again, doubtless working in the new arrival. Maribelle didn't understand the interaction and left feeling confused. Just what had she witnessed?


Meanwhile Robin was in the middle of her work. Chrom had been in and spoken with her and as yet she'd not had a chance to talk to her son. Robin frowned and wondered at why that was. She then lowered her head for a moment and sighed. It had been a tough few hours but knowing that Caleb was taking care of an entire unit did little to allay the mother's concern. She knew that with Lucina Caleb was a force of nature and then some. She would just have to trust her son's experience.


Caleb was done with the basic strategy and made his way over to his mother's tent. He was as yet unaware that Robin had heard the conversation between him and Chrom. He was focused on the task ahead not the things that had happened in the past. He knew that his mother was likely going to be busy but given that he was aware of the stakes he was sure that he could manage something to work in with his mother's methodical approach to strategy. It was a shame that he didn't always work like that. Perhaps it was the fact that he didn't get to learn as much from his mother as he would have liked. Or it was Caleb's preference to work on a more immediate approach to his tactics. That he liked to flex with the ebb and flow of battles. Caleb sighed as he came to the entrance of the strategy tent. He would take what happened and work with it.


The still of the pre-dawn light filtered through the trees as Caleb and the future Shepherds arrived into their allotted positions. He stood by Lucina's side ready to move out. From what he'd heard his mother was going for what had to be a staple of her strategies. Caleb frowned and called everyone into position properly. He made sure that they were all paired up. Laurent was back at camp watching over Alana as well as some guards. Caleb was hoping that they would not meet any soldiers where they were. It would be a gruelling enough battle without having to fear for their daughter. As it was Caleb was making sure that they kept themselves well hidden. Their job was to act as the vanguard to the Shepherds. Robin had only agreed to it because Chrom had liked the idea. As the Exalt had put it, “I don't see why not. Your job would be to keep reinforcements from attacking us out of the blue right?”. However in order for them to do that Caleb knew they needed to be in key positions. He made sure that he and Lucina were towards the centre of their little group. It gave him a wider range to move and allowed Gerome and Cynthia to make a perimeter around them. He had suggested that Noire and Brady accompany the fliers, Brady was gripping his bow with a frown on his face as he climbed up behind Cynthia. Gerome was petting Minerva as Noire readied her arrows. She was nervous at the prospect of riding with Gerome but Caleb knew that she trusted the wyvern rider. Caleb turned to Kjelle and Yarne. Both were tasked with dealing with infantry. Kjelle had a beastkiller lance and Yarne knew that his support was needed. As well as the fact that a giant rabbit would possibly throw the Valmese cavalry into potential disarray. He looked over to Nah and Inigo and while the latter was not happy about having to stay behind Nah, he wasn't to be trusted as doubtless he would try to flirt with any of the women of the enemy. Owain of course as ever was with Severa. Both had a unique fighting style that worked and Caleb was loathe to separate them. Owain gave Severa some much needed support even if he wasn't always serious. However Caleb knew that Owain would keep Severa safe. Plus it was clear that everyone was so used to their battle partner's specific fighting style that like Caleb and Lucina they easily added strength to their partner. A strength that could not be explained in any other way than their fighting experience as a pair.


The din of combat soon reached the little group. Caleb had already got Gerome and Cynthia to move out. Their goal was to keep areal supremacy of the sky by carrying archers to deal with any Valmese fliers. It was a strategy that Caleb used often, usually telling Gerome and Cynthia to avoid getting too close to the ground so that ground bound archers couldn't shot them down. Taking out those units Caleb usually liked to have mages deal with them or sword users if they were close enough to deal damage. Caleb also liked to hem in the archers for safety's sake. Preventing them from moving and getting the distance needed to hit their targets was a must when dealing with such archers. They quickly ran into the reinforcements that Caleb had guessed were going to come. He sighed and knew that was one point against his mother's strategy again. He hated it when he was right.


The fighting was brutal and shorter than Caleb had thought it was going to be. He was surprised that the reinforcements were so easily cut down. He and Lucina moved to regroup with the rest of the future Shepherds.

Alright that seems to be the last of the reinforcements for now,” Caleb said, “Cynthia, Gerome I need you to keep patrolling the perimeter with Brady and Noire, we do not want to get caught by surprise. The rest of us are going to assist the main force now.”

Hey Caleb,” Nah spoke, voice distorted by her dragon form, “we keep to our main plan or what?”

We need to blend with the main forces.” Caleb replied calmly, “Taking care to only engage the needed enemies. We don't need heroics at this point.”


He turned to see where the Shepherds were and frowned. He then turned to Lucina and she had a frown on her face, “They are not making much of a headway.” Lucina spoke calmly,

No they're not. Something isn't right Lucy. I don't know what it is and I intend to find out before someone gets killed.” Caleb gripped his tome

Let's go then.” Lucina said and Caleb followed her into their next battle.




Robin was struggling to gain any ground on the Valmese troops. So far the Shepherds had stalled due to the fact that Robin's strategy did not account for the fact that she wasn't quite strong enough to fend off the more worrisome units. She uttered a curse as she felt her shoulder get stabbed by a Valmese soldier. Robin knew that she was injured but she didn't have a choice. She had to fight and she had to make sure that she defeated the man before her...even though it looked like he was no less injured than when they had started their fight. The man was about to make another (likely the final) swing of his sword when a shot of what had to be Thoron hit him square in the chest. Robin almost didn't realise what it was. She managed to turn and to her shock saw Caleb, “You know Mother that you shouldn't engage an enemy with high defence with a physical weapon if you can not do any significant damage don't you? You're better off using magic or getting an archer to weaken them.”


Turns out the reinforcements weren't that much of a challenge.” Caleb replied then he pulled her back from where she was standing, “Predictable!” He snarled towards a Valmese Bow Knight creating a magical barrier that absorbed the attack, “Mother you need to see a healer. Those injuries of yours are pretty serious. Lucina and I will handle things here.”


What don't you trust me?” Caleb said sounding hurt,

What kind of mother would I be for even thinking to...”

Don't start that! You're injured!” Caleb said firmly and Robin could feel herself shaking, “I don't want to lose you again gods damn it!”

Robin wasn't sure if it was the shock of her injuries or Caleb's words. Robin was about to protest that he hadn't lost her when she suddenly realised the ground was coming up towards her awfully quickly...




Caleb cursed as his mother fell. He looked at Lucina and she quickly raised the signal that they had agreed on to let the Pegasus Knights know that they needed to move a wounded soldier. Caleb glared at the Bow Knight as he quickly readied his bow trying to aim for Lucina. Caleb opened his tome as quickly as possible, “HERE'S HOW IT'S DONE!” Caleb yelled as the blueish flames rose around him. The Bow Knight couldn't move fast enough as the Thoron that shot out of Caleb's hand was a pure white arrow. It hit the Bow Knight in the chest and the man fell instantly off his horse.


The beast stood there dumbly. He half expected more of the Valmese to approach but the fact that he'd taken out the Bow Knight had meant that they were not interested in going near their fallen comrade's mount. Lucina decided to see if she could catch the horse and was surprised when she caught it so easily.


Cordelia had landed not too far from where Caleb was with his mother applying pressure to his mother's shoulder wound. He sighed as he did what he could to get Robin moved. Cordelia had a heal staff but even then that wouldn't be enough. “She sustained a shoulder injury and likely that isn't her only one.” Caleb said shortly. “I fear that she won't be able to fight any time soon, let alone do too much.”

That is concerning,” Cordelia replied, “I can only partly-”

Yeah I know.” Caleb responded sadly as Lucina came with the fallen Bow Knight's odd horse, “Please. Heal her as much as you can so we can get her out of here.”

Alright, I will.” Cordelia sighed. “It won't be the best but...”

We need to alleviate the damage as much as possible.” Caleb said calmly, “It will do much to prevent infection, if only a fraction can be done.”

You sound like a field cleric.” Cordelia remarked and Caleb sighed,

It is a useful skill for a tactician to have.” He said softly. Lucina knew what he was getting at and she watched as Cordelia did what she could. Lucina gave Caleb a look an he returned it with a half tired expression, “The sooner we get her to the medical tents the better.” He said then frowned, “How did you get that horse?”

He's a strange one that's for sure.” Lucina replied, “That horse didn't move even though you put his rider out of commission.”

Hmm. How odd. Well I guess we'll just have to keep him huh?” Caleb said with a mischievous expression and Lucina realised what Caleb was saying,

But who would look after him?” She said with a frown and Caleb sighed,

I wouldn't mind it, besides I think if he's this quiet around magic he'll be a decent mount. Besides we could share him.” Caleb suggested and Lucina smiled,

I like that idea.” Lucina agreed as Cordelia finished up the last of the healing that she could do for the time being.

I'll need help getting Robin up.” She said and Caleb immediately set about helping the Falcon Knight get his mother safe to move. Then Cordelia tipped her head and left with the unconscious Robin.


Caleb meanwhile focused on the next task taking out the remaining enemies. There was nothing that he could do for his mother right now. Lucina decided that she would climb aboard the horse since riding it would be easier for the time being than leading it. As it turned out there was a second bow strapped to the horse's saddle. There were no arrows but that didn't matter. Lucina didn't need any. She gave Caleb a grin when she met his eye, “So what do we do now?” Lucina asked Caleb,

I say we get to Chrom and make a change of plans.” Caleb said and Lucina held out her hand to him. The tactician quickly hopped on behind her with her help. Lucina then turned the horse and broke into a gallop across the battle field.




Meanwhile the Valmese tactician Excellus chuckled as he saw the Shepherd's tactician fall in battle. He gleefully giggled with giddy excitement until he saw another tactician with the same coat as the woman that he'd been told to eliminate. A curse slipped unbidden. He wanted to make sure that Chrom's army lost their tactician so that he could sneakily switch sides to get closer to the Fire Emblem to steal it. With an annoyed howl of rage he almost destroyed the scrying orb he was using. He grunted as he turned his attention elsewhere. He had to make sure that everything was in place for the next step in his plan. After all he had a bet to keep up with and how he was going to enjoy proving Aversa he was better than her.




Chrom was fighting a particularly tough enemy when he saw Lucina riding towards him. He frowned at the fact she was on a Valmese horse but he figured she must have a very good reason to have the horse with her. Behind her was Caleb and Chrom frowned.


When Lucina finally reached her father Caleb made it clear that it was time for a change of tactics. Chrom wondered what Caleb was planning but after finding out that Robin was down Chrom had to admit that they didn't have much choice in the matter.


Caleb having made sure that everyone was now paired up simply made use of what he knew his mother was trying to achieve. And he noticed something interesting. Chrom and Maribelle actually seemed to fight a lot better than before, and it wasn't long until the Valmese forces were cut down. Caleb made sure to keep everything as smooth as possible. Changing tacticians in the middle of a battle was unheard of but the other Shepherds didn't seem to mind what Caleb was asking them to do. It helped that Caleb assisted them first to give them some breathing space while he asked them key questions; mostly focusing on who they were used to working with on and off the battle field. Then he sent the respective Shepherd to their kind of battle partner. Even if they were not the battle partners he would have liked due to his friends' parents being changed. He was surprised however that some battle partners were the same. He sighed and got to work picking up where Robin was forced to leave off.


By the time the battles were done Caleb and Lucina were taking stock of the situation. Both had arrived at the medical tents where doubtless the Shepherds' healers were hard at work. Caleb had made sure that their new horse friend was installed in the Shepherds' mounts temporary accommodation with enough food and water once it had cooled down. The horse deserved it. Alana was with them worried about “Grandmother” and Caleb didn't blame her. He was worried about his mother as well. From what he'd seen of Robin's injuries they were likely going to keep her out of the fight for a while. And that was if she survived them.


They arrived at the medical tent where Robin was staying in and Caleb saw that his mother was being cared for by Lissa and Maribelle. He knew that was not a good sign. He was quiet for a moment longer as he took in the damage his mother had taken. Her left arm and right across her chest was bound by bandages right down to her waist. Caleb frowned. His mother had more wounds then he'd first thought. That was concerning. Lissa seemed to realise that they were there and spoke, “Hey Caleb,” She said tiredly, “Hey Lucina. I take it you're here to see Robin?”

Yeah.” Caleb said softly, “As long as we are not in the way.” The tactician added, “Though perhaps if there is anything I can tell Chrom that might help too.”

Lissa lowered her staff and sighed, “Sure. There isn't much to say, she's got some pretty rough injuries that if they weren't partially treated would put her in an even worse situation. She'll pull through but she won't be able to fight for quite a long while.” Lissa was saddened and Caleb looked down, “I heard that you were pretty busy stopping the bleeding. That alone saved her life Caleb.”

The young tactician looked up in surprise. “I-it did?”

Most certainly,” Maribelle declared, “had your mother lost any more blood than what she had she would not be making as much of a recovery as she is.”

Th-thank you. I'll let Chrom know that her condition is critical.” Caleb bowed and Lucina knew what Caleb was thinking. He was afraid that he was going to lose Robin again and she didn't blame him in the slightest for doing what he could to save her. But it begged the question. Why did Robin get so badly hurt in the first place. Maribelle frowned,

Darling it is us who should be thanking you.” Lucina's mother said and the pair left. Alana sombrely holding Caleb's hand.


Gods damn it!” The Exalt cursed at the news, “Caleb I know this is more than I should ask of you, however we don't have much of a choice at this point. Can you be the acting tactician until your mother is well enough?”

Hmm. It is a great responsibility, however I am equal to the challenge. I swear I will do my best in my mother's absence.” Caleb replied. Basilio and Flavia gave their word of approval and the Shepherds prepared to head up the Mila Tree. Caleb noted that it was a place that made him feel at ease. He absently wondered if that was because they were about to meet the Voice of Naga, a woman that in their time hadn't been in the conflict against Grima. He and Lucina followed Chrom as the Exalt made his way up the stairs. Caleb heard little of what was said by Lissa (though he heard that apparently Brady had taken over for her looking after Robin). He held Lucina's hand while Alana was holding his other hand. He noticed that once they reached the shrine Say'ri called out to the Voice. They heard a yawn and Caleb felt an odd prickle up the back of his neck.


The Voice looked little more than a twenty year old woman. She wore a red dress that accentuated her natural curves. Her long green hair was up in a long ponytail. However what really gave her away as not being a human at all was her elongated ears. Caleb knew that she was a Manakete like Nah and Nowi. Awe filled the young tactician and as the young man recalled the Voice was also known as Tiki. Lucina spoke and while Caleb wasn't entirely focused on what was being said the result was surprising. She called out, “Marth...oh Mar-Mar is that you?” And she looked right at Lucina. Of course Caleb's wife had to explain that she wasn't Marth, even though she had gone by his name. The information did not seem to surprise the Manakete and Caleb felt a stab of pain when she said sadly, “Alas, you reminded me of one I knew who was lost in my endless slumber.”

Both Caleb and Lucina winced at the thought. Neither knew what to say. Tiki then spoke, “You and your father are of Exalted blood are you not?” Chrom confirmed that they were and Tiki continued, “You should have the Fire Emblem. It would have been passed down through your family.”

Yes, we do have it.” Chrom held the Emblem up for Tiki to see and she seemed relieved

Ah yes, a relief to know that it has not been lost.” The manakete frowned, “But where are the gemstones...I see only Argent.”

Gemstones?” Chrom asked confused and Caleb said calmly,

There are five gemstones, Argent, Azure, Vert, Gules and Sable that are meant to be mounted onto the Fire Emblem. With all of them you can perform the awakening and ask for Naga's power. It was how the first Exalt was able to defeat Grima. Of course such power is dangerous for men to wield so they were scattered.”

Indeed,” Tiki said confirming the tactician's words, “I have kept Azure here with me.”

Aye my family had safeguarded Vert for generations until Walhart's men stole it as a trophy.”

Which leaves Gules and Sable unaccounted for. Milady,” Caleb turned to Tiki, “Do you know where the they might be?”

I'm afraid that the remaining gemstones are no longer known to me.” Tiki said, “Likely they were taken during the Schism.”

Hmm, Regna Ferox was founded during the Schism, as were most nations in the realm.”

Does that mean you guys have one of the gemstones?” Lissa asked,

HA!” Flavia laughed, “As if anyone would trust that old oaf with anything-”

It is true,” Basilio said ignoring Flavia's prior outburst, “We did keep one. Gules. Did I not tell you that?”

No you didn't.” Flavia sighed and Basilio replied,

It must have slipped my mind.” The warrior said calmly then he continued, “Regardless of that...it was the duty of the West Khans to safeguard it. Mind you it was long before my lifetime.”


In the end Tiki gave them Azure. Caleb knew however that they had a lot of work to do. He was glad when Tiki said she would lead the people in prayer to end the conflict. However he and Lucina still had questions for her. Which was why they were sat within the shine talking with Tiki.


Ah I see.” The manakete said, “You are both concerned over the outcome of this fight?”
“No milady, we had a more...practical and slightly important question about...well about our daughter, Alana.” Caleb explained, “We don't know where she came from or how she even exists.”

Hmm.” Tiki looked thoughtful and rocked back a bit, “I do not have much of an answer other than to say what you suspect might well be true.”

Caleb felt as if someone had put ice into his gut, “But that's...not possible is it?” Caleb asked and Tiki sighed,

It is.”

Lucina felt sick and she spoke, “Th-then there is another version of me as well as Caleb?”

Yes,” Tiki said, “though she is not as lucky as you are. I do not know much but what I do know is from when Grima came into this world. The other you, the one that gave birth to Alana managed to partly break the curse she was under and plead with Naga to save Alana. Other than that...I'm afraid I don't have answers.”

...” Caleb held Lucina's hand and he felt uneasy. Lucina looked at him and they both knew that they needed time to absorb what Tiki had told them,

We are grateful for your time Lady Tiki,” Caleb said and the pair left the shrine.


When they arrived at camp they found Severa and Owain waiting for them. Caleb frowned as he saw the nervous expression on Owain's face, “Caleb...Severa and I...need your help...” and the tactician had a really bad feeling about it.

Edited by TheSilentChloey

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Chapter XX: Questions and Answers


Caleb raised an eyebrow at Owain. “You need help with something huh?” He still couldn't shake the feeling that there was something off about the way Owain was talking. He was more serious than usual and that had to be concerning. Owain looked at Caleb and he spoke quietly,

“Sev's pregnant...”

“What?!” Caleb gasped in shock. Lucina looked from one to the other and Severa didn't snap. She said softly,

“He's right.” She didn't meet their eyes and Caleb pinched the bridge of his nose.

“So you mean to tell me that the two of you couldn't even be cautious about-” Caleb stopped in mid-sentence and sighed. “No, I shouldn't be surprised. Though it happening now isn't exactly the best timing as you two are both well aware.”

Of course we knew that!” Severa snapped at Caleb and then she looked down again. Lucina sighed and face-palmed,

We need to keep this in house.” Lucina said at last, “No one else except the Future Shepherds should know about this am I understood?”

It shall be as you have commanded,” Owain said and added, “Not another soul save our mortal fold shall know.”


Caleb was in the middle of his work when the sound of the tent opening alerted him to the presence of another. He gave a brief glance up and saw that it was Chrom. He then returned to his work. He was about half way to the next part of the plan when Chrom cleared his throat, “Good eve Chrom,” Caleb said without even looking up or moving from his current position, “How are the others? Last I heard Lissa and Maribelle had their hands full with injuries from the last battle. Any word on how many will be able to handle the next battle?”

I have spoken with Say'ri and she had some information that you might be able to make use out of, we have reason to believe that Walhart's army has three main divisions. The Northern force is apparently lead by Walhart himself. The Southern force is supposedly lead by Say'ri's brother Yen'fey and we think the lands in between are lead by a woman named Pheros.”


Also there is something I've been meaning to ask you.” Chrom said and Caleb frowned, “Well you and Lucina.”

And what would that be Chrom?” Caleb asked tone neutral and seemingly calm,

After you stopped Em's assassination why didn't you stay?” The question caught Caleb off guard and he blinked in surprise. Then he sighed,

At that point in time we had only just found some of our friends and we felt it best that we found the rest of our group that had come back in time with us.”

I see.” Chrom looked thoughtful and Caleb chuckled,

The irony is that ultimately we have been luckier than I anticipated thus far. Even if...well even if Grima is trying to keep things on track.” Caleb muttered the last bit but Chrom heard it.

You mean that man your mother and I saw on Carrion Isle...”

Caleb sighed, “Well it was bound to come up at some point.” He frowned and continued, “Yes, that man is Grima...rather that man is Grima's 'avatar'. We're not sure who he actually is but we have a theory about it. Lucy and I do at any rate.”

Chrom looked thoughtful, “Well that explains a few things,” The acting Exalt responded, “Especially that dark aura around him.”

And likely not just that,” Caleb said bitterly, “I'm willing to be that you thought he was me right?”

At first...maybe but there was something off. Even though he said he was called Caleb I got the sense that wasn't who he really was.”

Well he is me. He's the one that chose to become Grima obviously.”
“There is a choice in that?” Chrom asked,

I'm not entirely sure...But it would seem entirely possible that there is.” Caleb replied, “I've been reading into it but there isn't much that I can deduce. There isn't all that much information on Grima in any texts that I have seem.”

Right...” Chrom frowned then said, “So then what does it mean for you?”

It means I have to find a way to stop Grima naturally.” Caleb replied calmly, “If it means killing myself then so be it. I would do anything to see Grima stopped.”

Chrom's frown deepened but he ultimately said nothing. He wasn't sure he liked the idea of Caleb dying but he couldn't fault the young man's logic. He sighed and changed the topic, “So any ideas on what our next move should be?”

We're going to disrupt the Valmese divisions by making them collapse on themselves.” Caleb said as if it were the most natural thing in the world to say. Chrom's frown was now one of confusion. “We will achieve it by primarily preventing their communications from reaching their intended targets. Then add confusion and misinformation. Panic will spread all on its own thanks to their numbers.”

Gods...” Chrom muttered,

It's the only way we're going to do anything to stop them. We'll have to take out one of Walhart's Generals. Steiger is perhaps our best choice. However from what you've said Yen'fey might make an easier target but there in lies the problem it could be that something is forcing his hand to be loyal to Walhart. Steiger is perhaps our better option.”


It was hard to say which was worse. Caleb knew that something was going on. He frowned. Ever since he'd spoken with Chrom the young tactician swore that the acting Exalt was up to something. It was small things that Caleb noticed. The subtle looks of worry and concern; or the occasional arrival with food around meal times when Caleb had felt it best to devote his full attention to battle strategies. However Caleb guessed that it was likely a different tale than what he was physically seeing. He sighed as he made his way over to his and Lucina's tent. He was tired but happy with his latest simulation against Virion; the loss was far closer than he'd ever got in the past and he was feeling slightly relieved despite the pressure that he was under. As Caleb eased his coat off he placed it on the cot and stretched. He was definitely going to enjoy the sunlight cascading through the trees. He made his way over to the training grounds and saw Lucina as ever attacking the training dummies like her life depended on it. It had been three weeks since Caleb had spoken with Chrom and so far Caleb had yet to do any training himself. He lamented the fact that he'd missed some. He carefully headed to where the training weapons were kept and pulled out a training tome and sword. He then headed out. He sighed as Inigo decided that he too was going to join them.


Inigo had frowned when he saw Caleb. The mercenary was shocked to see how much the tactician had changed. It was in fact only part of the reason that Inigo was there. The other was that he wanted to prove to the Shepherds that Caleb was the weakest of the Future Shepherds. A part of the young man had foolishly hoped that it would at least get Lucina to notice him. Another part of Inigo resented Caleb for taking the princess away from him and wanted to get revenge for the loss even though Lucina constantly turned Inigo down with about as much distaste as Severa, if not more so.


Caleb was about ready to select his own training dummy when Inigo came over and outright challenged the tactician. Out of the corner of Caleb's eye he saw some of the other Shepherds turn from their training and he sighed.


Inigo leapt at Caleb, blade slicing through the air as the tactician side-stepped it. Caleb seeing that Inigo was coming in for a second swing sighed inwardly. He did not want Inigo to gain any advantage over him so Caleb shifted to block he incoming strike. Wooden blades cracked as Caleb managed to hold off Inigo's second swing. Caleb raised an eyebrow as Inigo let out a frustrated grunt. The tactician decided that he'd had enough of Inigo and closed his eyes, drawing in a deep breath he decided to show the arrogant young man that just because someone lacked physical strength did not mean that they were inherently weak. When his eyes opened blue flames once again blasted out around him; Caleb knew that he was using Ignus and without any mercy he gave the mercenary a fully charged blow.


The sword hit Inigo so hard that the mercenary fell into the dirt with a look of shock on his face. Caleb was faster than Inigo had anticipated. He was also stronger even though the mercenary had been training the entire time he'd arrived in the past. It was almost as if Caleb had two full years extra on Inigo, giving the tactician a full seven years on the young noble born lad. Inigo grunted as Caleb had the wooden blade at his throat. The mercenary was defeated; even worse for Inigo was that Lucina had seen him get beat. To Inigo there was nothing more shameful than that. Except if someone saw him dancing.


With Inigo defeated Caleb returned to the task at hand focusing on selecting a training dummy with magical resistance high enough that he could attack it without breaking into pieces as he; much unlike Lucina and Chrom looked for that in a dummy. He soon found what he was looking for and began the more important part of his training. Focusing his magical energy to grow his proficiency in using tomes. He would worry about the sword later. Inigo had given the tactician a very clear view of what he needed to work on and that was enough. He was vaguely aware of a presence but paid it little heed. After all Caleb didn't think that he would have to deal with anyone else after that little display. How wrong he was.


Hold a moment.” Miriel spoke calmly and pushed her glasses up her nose, “I would like to see that skill of yours again please.”

Ah! Miriel!” Caleb jumped a mile and sighed, “Yeah...about that...I'm...not that good at activating it.”

...” Miriel frowned at him and Caleb realised that she was lost in thought, “Surely it would not be too difficult to replicate it with a sword.”

That's not the issue. What I'm saying is that I have a difficult time in using that skill which is why I haven't really applied it in battle...or training really.”

Miriel looked disappointed, “Reprehensible...”

I suppose I could try to use it again.” Caleb said absently, “Though I don't know what the affect will be given that I haven't used twice in a row before.”


It wasn't surprising then that Caleb couldn't pull it off. He frowned and tried to gather his focus but knew it wasn't going to happen. Miriel was surprised but Caleb chalked it down to needing more skill. Ricken had of course come to the training grounds just as Caleb said he needed more skill and the mage had frowned. “Why you seem to be quite able to fight just fine.”

...” Caleb ran a hand through his curls and sighed. “You know Ricken that someone's skill in fighting doesn't determine that they'll win. It just means that they have an ability to use a weapon however they need to. Skills are different. They require a concentration beyond simple combat. If you want to get stronger you'd take it more seriously.” Caleb frowned at Ricken's clear lack of knowledge in the area. The young man was a scholar who should have been aware of that much, much sooner than this. Skills were all Ricken could talk about when he took over as the Future Shepherds' tutor. He saw Ricken look surprised and wondered if he was over-stepping his boundaries.

Huh, I never stopped to think about that.” Ricken said thoughtfully, “So that was what that blue flame was...it was a skill?”

Yeah.” Caleb said quietly, “And what's worse is it seems to be quite...random on activating.”

It does seem to happen with you a lot though,” The mage said drawing Miriel's interest, “Well you've used it at least twice that I know of. Though it isn't a skill I've seen before.”

It's a blood-bound skill,” Caleb said quietly, “Only someone related to me can learn it.”

Oh like Chrom's Aether?”

Yeah.” Caleb replied and Miriel pushed her glasses up and spoke,

All the more reason to get to the bottom of the phenomenon and understand it.”

No.” Caleb said shortly. “As it is right now there isn't any consistent data which is what you would most certainly need of a scientific analysis. I did say I wasn't that good at activating the skill and I'm not lying. For now it's just a random factor I have to work with. Let's just leave it at that.”

The disappointment on Miriel's face was clear but Caleb wasn't in the mood to deal with her antics right then he had other tasks that required his attention.


Caleb was in the strategy tent looking at the pieces on the board. He wasn't sure what his next move was as he knew that he had two key pieces almost certainly out of action. Severa and Owain. He frowned at the loss but knew that while Severa was pregnant there was no way he was going to put her into harms' way. He just couldn't do that. He had to work out what to do and didn't notice the tent flap open. He did however notice when it suddenly closed and looked up to see Lucina come over to him, “Caleb,” She began and came to sit by his side, “You're worried about Severa aren't you?”

I can't help it Lucy,” Caleb replied as Lucina leant on the table, “She's...not exactly able to fight and I don't want to put anyone else at risk.” Caleb sighed. Keeping Severa's pregnancy in house wasn't exactly easy and it was stressing Caleb. With a groan he placed his head on the desk just as the tent flap opened again. He didn't have to look up to know who it was given the clomp of boots. Alana was bouncing about like normal. He was glad their daughter was mostly unaffected by the war at this point. That was good news. However there was a slight issue. Alana was not alone. There was a second set of footsteps that sounded like,

Working hard I see.” Chrom sounded amused and Caleb didn't even have the energy to jump

Of course he does Father.” Lucina replied and Caleb could hear the smile on her face as she said it and knew she was trying her hand at making a joke. He smiled and then let it fade as he leant back,

I don't have any concrete plans though,” He said mildly disappointed with himself, “However having too many strategies and not needing them is far better than to few and needing them all.”

Chrom chuckled and Caleb half smiled, “It was one of the rules that Mother drilled into me from an early age. I guess she's still not happy being forced to rest?”

I think that Robin is alright, last time I checked.” Chrom chuckled, “Though less than pleased that she got hurt and isn't allowed to fight.”

Did Grandmother say naughty words?” Alana asked seriously and Chrom was surprised,

I suppose that she did, though I don't know enough Plegian to be certain of that fact.”

It does sound like something she would do.” Caleb sighed,

I didn't think she was one to swear.” Lucina frowned,

I didn't either,” Caleb admitted, “but perhaps it's just one of those things she does?”

Somehow I don't think so.” Chrom sighed, “Robin is under a lot of stress at the moment so it makes some sense that she might be a little less well spoken...if not the pain that she's in being an important factor.”

Yeah, that does make sense.” Caleb agreed, “Maybe I should see how she's fairing. Her advice would be immensely useful and welcome for the up coming battle.”


As Caleb went to the medical tents he passed Severa and Owain the former looking less than happy. Caleb wasn't surprised but he had hoped they were keeping her condition in house until Lucina said otherwise. He came to stand before the tent where his mother was and he sighed as he heard women's voices come through the open flap.

I have told you Robin that you have to take it easy. You really need to rest and...”

Mother,” Caleb spoke calmly, “Maribelle is right. You need to rest or else you won't fully heal.”

Caleb.” Robin looked at her son and she sighed, “I can't be idle when there is work to be done.”

Of course Mother I know.” Caleb said coming to sit by her bedside. “Which is why I've been doing all I can to help. It's not much but it will do for the time being. Right now we need to focus on getting you better. That is the most important thing.”

Robin looked at her son and felt the strangest thing. She sighed; he could be trusted with the task at hand she knew that but she didn't want to cause her son to have to bare so much on his shoulders, she was certain that he'd had to in the past. Hell he'd even admitted to having to grow up quickly alongside Lucina. Robin pet the young man's head and he blushed, “The gods have clearly gifted me with a considerate and caring son. I could ask no more of you Caleb.” Robin felt a smile touch her face, “And there in lies the problem; you've had to be a grown up for so long that you never really had the time to be a child and it's all my fault.”

Caleb's eyes widened in shock but Robin didn't seem to notice, “M-mother...” Caleb sniffled and Robin had a feeling he was trying not to cry. Robin didn't move for a moment and then she wiped the tear that had fallen on her son's cheek. She then sighed,

I suppose I'll have to rest.” She pet Caleb's head again, “and leave this task to you, because despite everything you are skilled enough to do more than I could even with myself in this state.”

Robin...” Maribelle noticed the tired look in her friend's eyes. The tactician leant back and sighed,

I have a feeling we're going to have a tough battle ahead. I will be fine for now.”

Mother...” Caleb looked at Robin and knew what his mother was thinking, “I had best get back to the task at hand. This won't be an easy battle. Thank you Maribelle.”

The Valkyrie frowned and realised that Caleb looked even more tired than his mother. She wondered if it was just her eyes deceiving her or if she was seeing the truth. She decided to find out later as she had to dress Robin's wounds and make sure that they were healing properly. Robin seemed to deflate a little when Caleb left them and Maribelle spoke,

He's a good young man,” The Valkyrie said, “though I certainly can't figure him out all that much.”

Robin let out a small chuckle,

You know Maribelle I think we both are trying to figure him out.”

what do you mean darling?” Maribelle looked at Robin and the woman sighed,

I had spoken to Caleb when they first joined and do you know what he said?” Robin suddenly looked pained, “He'd been watching over the others since he was fourteen. Fourteen for gods' sakes! I'm willing to bet it went back even further than what he told me...there is no way he was acting like an adult since then. I just...I don't know if he has the heart to say what happened.”

Gods that sounds rough.” Maribelle said softly then she sighed, “Alright darling try to rest. I'll be back with something for you to eat.”




Caleb sighed as he made his way to the mess tent. He had planed to ask his mother something of a slightly more personal nature but he wasn't going to do that around Maribelle. He couldn't. Though he'd told Chrom he would ask for his mother's advice it was a ruse. He wanted to ask her about his father. It was a question he had always wanted an answer to. A question that he would never have answered it seemed. He sighed and remembered that he was probably never going to know and that hurt. After all Robin never told him who his father even was. For all Caleb knew it could have been some comrade of hers from the first Plegia/Ylisse war. He sighed and sat by Lucina's side, “Still no answer?” Lucina asked softly,

No,” Caleb responded softly as Alana tucked into her dinner oblivious to her father and mother's conversation, “Maribelle was there so I couldn't ask her.”

I see. I suppose that means we have precious little to go on then.” Lucina muttered calmly,

At any rate I have a plan.” Caleb said voice at a normal volume, “We have some interesting pieces of information that could be quite useful.”


Latter that evening Caleb was busy working through the last piece of strategy for the up coming battle at Steiger. So far they had a decent advantage over the Valmese. Caleb was fairly certain however that advantage was more frail than Say'ri was assuring. In fact the young tactician was working based on the worst possible case scenario. He frowned and re-played his moves. There was a risk but if he was right then they were going to have a tough fight ahead of them. With a yawn Caleb carefully put away the strategy books for now. He would have to make sure that he picked up where he left off in the morning. With a sigh he passed a few tents on the way to the one he shared with Lucina. He smiled as he looked up into the sky with the brighter stars. Then his smile faded. He didn't know what to do. Severa was with child and Owain didn't want to sit back and be idle. Severa didn't need the threat of losing her husband as Owain didn't have another battle partner. Caleb passed Cynthia who for the most part was chewing her bottom lip deep in thought. She however smiled when she saw him and Caleb spoke, “Hey Cynthia is everything alright?”

The dark flier nodded and resumed her thoughtful expression and Caleb got the sense that she was up to something though what remained to be seen. With a sigh he finally came to the tent he and his wife shared and as he opened the flap he noticed it was quiet and empty. Lucina doubtless was out training again Caleb concluded and he settled about getting out of his coat and shirt. He flopped onto the bedroll and sighed. He was tired and needed to rest. With a sigh the young tactician actually dozed on the bedroll.


When he woke their was the sound of rain hitting the canvas. He was groggy and realised that he was very much in an embrace. Lucina woke and said softly, “It's raining...”

Heh, so we can sleep in.” Caleb said with a hint of happiness,

Or we could...you-know-what...”

Caleb sighed and nestled close to Lucina, “Or we could just snuggle up like this and sleep in.” Lucina giggled,

Caleb why is it that all you can think of is sleep?”

Because sleep is best with you and I don't have any nightmares.” He answered without thinking.

Caleb...” Lucina realised that he had nestled quite close. She couldn't help but feel inclined to agree with him but...she wasn't exactly wanting to sleep. Lucina was restless and she leant down and kissed Caleb's forehead. “You know I was thinking...” Lucina began and Caleb tilted his head as he looked up at Lucina.

You were thinking about that weren't you Lucy?” Caleb sighed,

I...well...I didn't want to impose...” Lucina muttered, “It was such a wonderful dream and...”

Caleb rose slightly and kissed his wife gently, “A dream huh?” He said and he saw her blush. “Mind telling me about it?” The tactician asked playfully knowing full well what his wife had said. Absently he half brushed through her hair and Lucina muttered something and Caleb at first thought that she wasn't going to say it but then she surprised him with a kiss. Caleb sighed and felt himself relax. He was still smirking slightly. He had a rough idea as to what Lucina's dream might have entailed and for some reason he wasn't surprised in the slightest.




By the time the rain had stopped there was a stillness over the Shepherds' camp. Chrom was half way towards the mess hall when he spotted the subtle hint of trouble. He saw that Severa looked like she wasn't well. He was about to ask what was wrong when a loud commotion caught his attention, “ARE YOU FUCKING WITH ME?!” A furious voice yelled and Chrom realised that Sully was about to kill someone. He came to see what the fuss was about and saw that it was one of the Future Shepherds. Kjelle if he recalled correctly, and she looked like she was used to Sully's swearing,

No I'm not fucking with you.” Kjelle said pointedly, “You of all people would be the best for me to learn from.” Kjelle looked serious and Chrom was actually surprised,

Shit kid.” Sully said with a laugh, “I like your dedication. Alright then. I'll train with ya.”

Thank you Ma'am.” Kjelle said and Chrom just didn't know what to do. Sully looked over at him and said,

Hey Chrom, you're not going to believe this...”

I have a feeling I might.” Chrom said realising on a closer look that Kjelle seemed an awful lot like Sully...




Caleb sighed as he and Lucina enjoyed a quiet breakfast with Alana making faces at food. It was clear that Alana was not enjoying the food as much as she was enjoying her parents' company. She didn't talk like she normally did and that had Caleb worried for her. However she seemed to be happy enough. He decided to let the issue go for now. He did however turn to look at his notes and had a thought about another strategy he could use to help keep everyone safe. He noticed Chrom walking in with a bemused expression on his face and Caleb took a bite out of the food in front of himself and was about to make a note of something when Chrom came to join the tactician. The bluenette said rather seriously, “Kjelle is Sully's daughter isn't she?” Which lead to Caleb almost spitting out his drink. He coughed and Lucina pat his back as he struggled to gain his breath,

What makes you say that Father?” Lucina asked innocently.

Her resemblance to Sully is...uncanny. Well that and Sully said she thought Kjelle might be her daughter...” Chrom responded less bemused and more certain. Caleb sighed and said,

Yeah, you're right about that one.”


Trust me Lucy, I'm sure Sully knows too.”

Wait do you mean that she's also pregnant too?” It was a slip of the tongue but Caleb was quick to explain to Chrom,

After you and Maribelle had Lucina, Sully and Donnel were the next parents in our time. So we just assumed that it might mean that Kjelle's younger version might be born.”

Oh I see. Well as far as I know no, they're not having any children just yet.”

Well that's a relief to know.” Caleb replied calmly while Lucina heaved a sigh,
“You never know maybe it just hasn't happened yet.” And Caleb got a subtle sense that Lucina was trying to tell him something...though what was a mystery. He half wondered if there was something he was missing and discounted it. He would worry about it later.


The march was quiet save for a few key things. One Severa was yelling at Owain about treating her like she was delicate and two, she seemed to want to march. Caleb knew better than to get involved in the pair's less than pleasant exchange and for the most part kept himself quiet. He held Alana's hand and did his best not to hear what the pair were talking about but it was hard. Caleb decided their bickering was enough and said rather calmly, “Severa, Owain. Why don't you both come and join Alana and I?” He offered a way out of their argument and Severa's face softened and Owain also looked relieved.


It took the Shepherds three weeks of travelling to get to the area near where Steiger was. Caleb had set up the tent he shared with Lucina and was just about to head to the mess tent when Lucina came practically running over to him white faced and worried, “Caleb!” She cried, “We need an emergency Future Shepherds' meeting now!”

Caleb blinked and realised what Lucina was saying and nodded, “Here?” He asked and she nodded. “Right what do we need?”

I'll get the others,” Lucina said quickly, “We have a problem.”

Caleb sighed as he did what he could to make the tent ready for such a short notice meeting but he was sure that there was something he was missing. Then he had a thought. He dismissed it for the time being as doubtless it was very simple. If the Shepherds hadn't figured it out yet then they sure as hell were going to soon. Severa had after all began to show changes in her body over the course of the last few weeks. Caleb sighed if only life was simple and not rife with battles everywhere they looked.

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Chapter XXI: Ignus and Aether


There was a stillness in the air as the small boy practised with his tome. Movements fluid he tossed the ball of magic at his intended target. A woman with white hair stood watching him. Her eye narrowed, “Again Caleb,” She said sternly, “with more conviction! You'll keep missing your target if you allow yourself a moment of doubt as a mage!”

The boy frowned but did as he was asked...or at least he tried to. The white haired woman sighed as the boy missed his target again. She then picked up the tome beside her and blasted the target from where she was standing, “Focus on your target Caleb.” She said quietly, “Otherwise you're letting the enemy kill you where you stand.”


Caleb let out a sigh as he made places for everyone to sit. Hardly surprising that there was such urgency as this. He noticed that Yarne and Kjelle were the first to arrive and that they were confused. Alana had arrived with Noire and Gerome. The latter wasn't too fussed about what was going on but Noire looked decidedly scared about what was going on. Caleb presumed that there was a reason that Lucina had called the meeting but he didn't know why she called the meeting. As he looked at the faces of the rest of the Future Shepherds it was clear that some of them were in the same boat as Caleb himself. Inigo arrived with Nah at the helm and Caleb could see that Nah was as ever very annoyed about something. Caleb noticed that it was easily clear that Inigo seemed to be pleased with himself about something or other but right now there wasn't the time for that. By the time Lucina came back she came with the last few people, Owain, Severa, Brady and Cynthia. Caleb looked to his wife with a questioning look and Lucina sighed, “Someone didn't keep Severa's condition in house like I asked and now all of the Shepherds knows about it.” Lucina said to the group and Caleb raised an eyebrow in surprise. Inigo suddenly looked a little less happy and was staring at the ground while the rest of the group looked either horrified or furious in the case of Severa,

“So then there is someone here who needs to be punished?” Caleb said looking right at Inigo with a frown as the young man's reaction most certainly did not match up with someone who wasn't in trouble. In fact that reaction was one of guilt dare Caleb think it.

Yes.” Lucina said calmly, “Though I don't know whom it might be I have a few ideas as to what is going on. If I should be as bold as to say it is a rather loud-mouthed individual who seems to create trouble wherever he goes...”

Everyone now glared at Inigo and the young mercenary shrunk at all of the accusing glares, “What?” He shot back suddenly, “I didn't have a choice!”

“You did.” Caleb said coldly as he put the pieces of the puzzle together and knew without a doubt who Lucina was assuming was the culprit and knowing at the same time that Inigo was the only candidate that filled Lucina's assumptions at all, “You know the rules Inigo. And you know the cost of disobeying Lucy's orders.”

“Well she's not the boss any more!” Inigo yelped at Caleb and Lucina frowned, clearly furious at such insubordination.

“Then we have our culprit.” Lucina spoke frostily at Inigo, “You're even worse than I thought. Get out.”

Inigo gaped and spluttered but Caleb was well aware that the boundaries had to be kept, “You heard her. Go Inigo. From this point on you are no longer one of us...” Caleb spoke automatically and Lucina gave him a nod of approval. It wasn't often that Caleb had to dish out a punishment but when he did Lucina often left it at whatever it was that Caleb had said. Granted Caleb didn't have to punish the others all that much and he tried to be fair about it when he did so more often than not there weren't any complaints about them. And this time was no different.


Nah rose and was the first to make sure Inigo was out of the tent before he could protest Caleb's decision. Lucina looked on expressionlessly as Inigo spluttered and whined all the way out of the tent. The young man's voice kept going despite the fact that Nah was taking him back to his own tent. Once he was out of ear shot Lucina sighed, “From here on out we are not saying a word of anything to Inigo. I'm sorry that you all had to witness this.”

“He did this to himself. We all know better than to do what he did.” Noire said clearly upset, “Besides why would you broadcast something so private to the public like that?”

Everyone in the room agreed with what Noire was saying.

Gerome spoke, “That gods' damn fool has signed his own death.”

Yeah he is.” Cynthia said sadly, then she said in Plegian, “He should have listened to Lucy.”

“I don't like it any more than anyone else.” Lucina admitted, “However I feel this is for the best as we can not trust Inigo any more as this is the last time.”

“Don't worry Lucy,” Caleb said resting his hand on his wife's shoulder, “You did what you could.”

“Humph serves the bastard right.” Severa said, “How dare he say something I wanted to keep private publicly!”

Lucina sighed and then she said, “Yes, he has done the wrong thing not just by Severa but by all of us. And as hard as it is we can't allow him to continue his behaviour as it currently stands. We have to finish what we set out to do. Once we have done that then we'll work out fully what needs to be done about Inigo.”


Nah of course heard the entire conversation as she lead Inigo away. She sighed but said nothing as she could hear the pain in the other's voices. She did however tell Inigo that she would most certainly know it he so much as dared to break Lucina's orders another time.


Caleb lay on the bedroll after the meeting with the Future Shepherds. It was hard to think about what had happened. He couldn't help but wonder where he'd gone wrong with Inigo as the young man had always been the one who seemed to cause trouble in their group. If Inigo wasn't flirting with all of the women he could then he was arguing with Caleb on how he should be. Failing that Inigo was a good fighter, capable and certainly able to look after himself. Yet Caleb still couldn't put his finger on why Inigo had essentially revealed to absolutely all of the Shepherds that Severa was pregnant. What did Inigo stand to gain from such a thing as that? Caleb frowned and sighed inwardly. How could he have missed clearly important details thus far? He should have known that Inigo would have caused trouble like normal but perhaps...perhaps it was Caleb's assumption that Inigo was grown up a little. He sighed as Lucina sat beside him equally despondent about what they'd had to do. It hurt to have to basically kick Inigo out but they didn't have a choice. It was clear to Caleb that Inigo was not going to listen no matter what the tactician did and that Inigo was as immature as ever. Caleb would treat Inigo like the rest of the Shepherds but no longer would Inigo be considered one of the Future Shepherds. As soon as his mother was well enough Inigo was going to be her problem to deal with. In a way Caleb felt guilt about it but it was for the best he decided and that was a hard thing to do. The young tactician sighed inwardly as he thought about all the possible out comes of such things. Doubtless there would be some problems in the immediate fall out. Inigo would try to come back to the only thing he'd known most of his life and likely do anything to come back in the future; as such Caleb would have to be on his guard. Or Inigo might like being with the other Shepherds so much he'd not miss the Future ones. It was possible after all and if that were the case then Caleb would feel that the harshness of the punishment was fair enough. Although there was the added risk that Inigo would say who in the Shepherds should marry whom. Surely Inigo wouldn't be that stupid as to do that.


Later that night Caleb left the tent and moved towards the strategy tent. He was of course passed by a few of the Shepherds. Most looked at him curiously but others frowned at him. He was used to the occasional looks from others and ignored them as they were irrelevant to what he had to do. Caleb was focused on what he had to do.


So when Chrom came to speak with him Caleb was as ever working on strategy and creating a broad strategy to deal with their up coming battle knowing that the finer details were to be done later on. Chrom found that Caleb wasn't really in the mood to talk about what had happened, let alone that one of his friends was expecting a baby. From what Chrom heard it was meant to be kept private but of course all of the Shepherds knew thanks to Inigo. Chrom had never found someone so focused on their work as Caleb was being. The bluenette found it almost Robin-like in a way. Yet it wasn't in the same token. It felt almost natural to have Caleb sitting where he was quill moving over the page dabbing up ink on occasion then continuing to write away. Chrom sighed, “We need to talk Caleb.” He said getting the lad's attention,

“Yes, Chrom?” Caleb said finally looking up from his work, “I know we do...however there are slightly more pressing issues that need to be tended to.”

“Like?” Chrom asked wanting to see what the young man had to say.

“Like the fact that we have a battle less than a day now to worry about.” Caleb sighed, “Or let's not forget that half an entire battalion of soldiers that are injured or worse that we currently can't make use of. Or the slipping moral of said soldiers.”

“Well that is one thing to talk about...” Chrom said seriously, “But not what we actually need to talk about.”

“Then what?” Caleb said seriously,

“The last few days have been trying I know.” Chrom said and Caleb sighed heavily,

“Trying?” The tactician laughed hollowly, “Oh gods you don't know the half of it. This is hardly “trying” as you put it. No this is something that should be well within my scope to handle...but I can't deny that things are...strained between certain individuals.”

“Somehow I feel like it's eating at you Caleb.” Chrom replied and Caleb heaved another sigh,

“I suppose it is.” The tactician admitted, “I'll admit there is nothing that can be done about it now.”

“You say that like it's a bad thing.” Chrom noted and the tactician rose from his seat,

“In some ways it is.” Caleb admitted, “I still can't believe that there was someone willing to literally disobey what Lucy had requested. I honestly thought that our time was enough to make it clear that we should be working together and not apart like we have been at times...”

“Hmm...” Chrom looked thoughtful and Caleb continued,

“Perhaps I should have realised that it was going to be a problem to make certain that not everything was as troublesome as it is currently.”

“Really?” Chrom asked,

“Yeah.” Caleb sighed then he moved a couple of books off the table he absently flicked through them and let out a low scoff and placed them on in the chest where the tactical manuals his mother owned was stored. He muttered, “No wonder she got into trouble...those are the most unreliable books of her whole damn library.”

“Oh?” Chrom sounded surprised and Caleb had a look at the books in the chest,

“This war is not the same as the last one she was in...let alone the one before that. The required tactics are different.”

“Care to elaborate on that?” Chrom asked,

I can think of three reasons why those wouldn't be much use. I know for a fact that those texts are dated when dealing with cavalry for a start. With the added con that they are and have been in use for the last fifty years to death in Valm.” Caleb spoke calmly, “Not very useful for us and doubtless the Valmese would expect the counter to it. Locking in a strategy is dangerous at best. If you have a strategy it's far better to be flexible and changing in the battle than being the same basic thing that an enemy can exploit. That's why Mother got injured. And that unfortunately is why so many others did as well.”

“And you didn't tell her this because?” Chrom asked,

“I couldn't tell her.” Caleb sighed, “Well that and she doesn't like changing her plans mid-battle like I do. We've got a different approach to tactics and while that can be a bad thing it can also lead to better ways of doing things if you can make the two mesh into one coherent unit. Spoiler alert it never does.”

“But still...”

“Please trust me Chrom. I know how my Mother thinks and I have a feeling that is something I have to work with.”

Chrom sighed. “Alright then, but promise me you won't push yourself too hard please Caleb.”

“Heh, you sound like Lucy when you say that!” Caleb laughed.


Caleb made his way back to his tent. He was alone for the time being and he was perfectly fine with it. As he looked up he sighed. He could see that there was going to be a tough fight ahead and he wanted to make certain that a certain individual wasn't in the area. Seeing that it had gone quiet he was able to make sure that he was mostly alone. With a sigh he pulled out a tome and proceeded to read its contents. He sighed as he came across a word that he didn't understand the meaning of. With little hesitation Caleb used a dictionary to figure it out on his own. He heard the tent flap move and a familiar voice sounded amused,

“Caleb aren't you supposed to have done enough study for the day?” Lucina asked him and Caleb sighed,

“Well I suppose I should but there were a couple of things that I needed to look into.” Caleb said absently, “And I had a feeling that there was something that I was missing.”

“Really?” Lucina said surprised,

“I don't know Lucy...it just feels like it is all.”

“And you're not as concerned as you might be because...?”

It's just something minor Lucy.” Caleb replied with a subtle frown. Then his expression smoothed out, “How's Alana?”

“Sound asleep.” Lucina and Caleb smiled softly,

“Good then we can rest a little easier.”

“Why?” Lucina asked and Caleb put his tome down and hugged her, “Caleb?”

“So we can have some 'us' time.” He murmured into her embrace. Caleb didn't let go for a little while and Lucina found it comforting,

“We should probably wake up early tomorrow then,” Lucina suggested, “We haven't had a sparing match for a while and I think it might do us some good.”

“Agreed.” Caleb said relaxing in her arms content once more.


When Caleb woke it was to a feeling of slight tiredness. His eyes weren't going to open and the young tactician panicked briefly as it felt like his body was bound by something. His eyes snapped open and he saw Lucina curled up against his side. He frowned as he realised that her bare skin was against his own. It was nice but it made him wonder how they ended up like that. He'd not remembered making love to his wife after all. As far as Caleb remembered they had only embraced before resting. He then wondered if it was possible that he'd been asleep when they had. Or at the very least extremely tired or...perhaps they'd forgone getting into nightclothes? The latter did seem likely Caleb thought. Then he felt a slight grin hit his face. 'When in doubt,' Caleb thought, 'make it certain.'

He kissed his wife's forehead and Lucina shifted and held Caleb tightly. Then she woke. Caleb saw her frown and he almost wondered if he'd done the wrong thing, “Caleb...” Lucina suddenly pressed her head to his chest and he felt her grip tighten,

“Lucy, what's wrong?” Caleb asked gently,

“Nothing was wrong!” Lucina suddenly blurted out, “I..it was...”

“Lucy?” Caleb gently lifted her to see why she was suddenly seemly upset. She looked almost like there was something she was trying to tell him but it seemed that she wasn't entirely able to say it. Then she spoke,

“It was one of the best dreams I'd had in so long...and it ended so abruptly!”

“A dream?” Caleb asked softly, “You mean the one you had before?”

“Well...yes...” Lucina suddenly blushed and Caleb looked thoughtful but he couldn't help but smirk ever so slightly,

“Hmm...” The tactician tried to look suitably thoughtful but the smirk was getting ever more wider, “Well there are two options.” He noticed Lucina look at him with a raise eyebrow and he continued, “One, we do as we planned this morning and go spar or...”

“Or what Caleb?” Lucina asked as Caleb's smirk made her think that possibly she might get to have both her dream sorted and their training done. Caleb grinned without restraint,

“We pick up where this dream of yours left off and spar later.” The tactician suggested. Lucina smiled. “Option two it is then.” Caleb grinned and kissed her again.


Chrom sighed as he wondered why Caleb was not at his desk that particular morning and decided that he would find out what was going on. Alana was at present working with Laurent learning her magic. He asked the pair where Caleb and Lucina might have been but they didn't know. He then ran into Frederick who for all the world looked like he'd been thoroughly embarrassed. Chrom didn't know what had the knight so flustered but it seemed to be important. Chrom soon found out that Frederick did not want to say what it was that he'd heard but he was adamant that Chrom not go near Lucina and Caleb's tent for a while which made Chrom wonder what the knight meant by that. It was hardly fair to assume that they were in a lovers embrace but Chrom noted that Frederick seemed to think so. He sighed and wondered what in the world Caleb was thinking.


The afterglow of their lovemaking left Caleb feeling a little bit tired. He knew it was a risk but for once he didn't care. Sometimes it felt good to let the bones fall and not think about the consequences. It felt damn good to just instinct take over and reach the heights of pleasure that he so desperately wanted without having to think about the potential for his wife to end up with child. Even so Caleb knew that it was more likely that they were going to have to be careful in future as Lucina and he both regained strength and grew progressively stronger at the same time there was that slim chance that they could have a child. Hell Owain and Severa had proved it possible in a weakened state and there was no reason it wouldn't happen to Caleb and Lucina.


Caleb pulled his clothing on as Lucina hastened to get ready. They had decided to spar after lunch as they both knew it was pretty late. Caleb had just left the tent to see Chrom standing with his arms crossed, “Care to explain?” The bluenette asked with a serious expression on his face,

“Not needed,” Caleb said quickly, “We'll talk strategy later Chrom.” he caught Lucina's hand and pulled her over to the mess tent and Chrom felt his head shake. Could they be any more obvious he wondered? At least Alana seemed not to notice her parent's almost unbelievable drive. Chrom had to wonder if he and Maribelle were ever that bad. Then he felt a snort. No, they couldn't be that bad surely? Which lead Chrom to wonder that for quite some time after that thought crossed his mind.


Caleb made sure to go into the mess tent as quietly as possible with Lucina but it was clear that they were more visible than usual which Caleb had to admit wasn't always a good thing. He noticed the judgemental look from Frederick and he sighed inwardly. So much for being subtle about their little tryst. He then turned his attention to what they had available for lunch and got what he felt like eating. Lucina joined him and for the most part they didn't really talk. They didn't have to. Caleb was content for the time being and before long it was time for their sparing match. A match that if Caleb lost...well he'd have to do whatever Lucina wanted like normal. A draw meant that they would have to do what Alana wanted for the day and if he won which was extremely slim then Caleb could have a potentially unspoiled chance to have a date with his wife...not right then but at a time that he felt would suit. The idea was enough to drive the tactician to be his best.


Chrom was surprised when he found out that there was a pretty intense sparing match going on and he followed the gathering crowds to where the Shepherds had made training grounds up. Sure enough there was the tell tale sign of a match. Chrom frowned as he heard cheering and everyone seemed to want to see the action. Politely as he could Chrom managed to get in and see what was going on over the shorter form of Ricken who was furiously scribbling into a book. He was surprised to see who it was sparing against each other. He did not expect Caleb to try to match Lucina with a sword. He noticed that everyone was absolutely excited and he saw Caleb take a hefty blow to his midsection quite easily. Lucina frowning as Caleb pulled his ace. Chrom was surprised when Ignus suddenly activated making Miriel also start scribbling equally furiously. Chrom watched as Caleb made a solid move only for Lucina to activate Aether and ruin the movement that Caleb was trying to do...or at least that was what it seemed. Lucina didn't quite manage to actually hit Caleb and Chrom wondered what Caleb had done...then he realised that Caleb had predicted that Lucina was going to use Aether and dodged in the nick of time. “Checkmate!” Caleb called and Lucina realised too late the trap that Caleb was pulling. She tried to leap out of the way only to trip up and have Caleb's sword pointed at her, “Looks like I win this one Lucy.” Caleb said with a frown. He quickly put the sword in its sheath, “I didn't hurt you too badly did I?”

“No Caleb, I'm fine.” Lucina reassured her tactician and he quickly offered her a hand,

“Incredible!” Ricken declared, “That is the seventh time thus far that you've activated Ignus. The first time that its been sustained like this though.”

“Indeed it has been quite fascinating to see it active so frequently. Surely this must be because of your current training regimen.”

Caleb let out a weak laugh and as he pulled Lucina up to her feet. “Nope.” He said checking to make sure his wife was unharmed. Seeing that she was alright relieved Caleb, but he also knew that she'd fought pretty hard. He continued, “As I said before it is a Skill that requires a certain amount of skill to activate. I just so happen to be extremely lucky to be able to use it the amount of times that I have. It's not something that I can rely on. Nor should I rely on it. That would be dangerous.”


Chrom watched the rest of the Shepherds murmur and begin to disperse now that the show was essentially over. He cleared his throat and Caleb managed to get the hint. The tactician murmured something in Lucina's ear that sounded like “date” to Chrom but he couldn't tell what the tactician was saying. Caleb then turned to face the bluenette and said with a very serious tone, “I'm guessing you wanted to talk strategy now Chrom?”

“No.” The bluenette said pointedly and Caleb tilted his head,

“Odd because I assumed that was the agenda.”

“...” Chrom didn't realise how professional Caleb could be but that sure as hell was not what Chrom wanted to know. However there was a mischievous glint in Caleb's eyes that told Chrom that the boy was literally playing with him. Chrom let out a sigh, “Whatever you're thinking it had best be about your job and not what you were up to late this morning.” Chrom said sternly And Caleb smirked,

“Oh really?” The tactician spoke with a hint of sarcasm that made Chrom frown. “And here I was assuming that privacy was the norm...and that eavesdroppers know better than to speak of what they may or may not have heard.”

'Anger hidden in sarcasm,' Chrom thought, 'clever...I'm going to have to watch him then.' “Now, now,” Chrom said lightly, “You can't blame them for hearing things.”

“Ah, ah, ah. I'm not blaming them for hearing things...I never said I was. I just said they should know better than to speak of it is all.”

Chrom sighed, “Sometimes words aren't needed Caleb.”

“Could have fooled me,” Caleb's sarcasm was of the slightly different variety than before and Chrom realised that this was the point where it was a victory for now. However doubtless Caleb was letting him have that one. Chrom had a feeling that the young tactician would get more as time went on. Still Chrom understood what Caleb was annoyed about. He would have to remedy the situation before it got any further out of hand. With Caleb's help of course. Then Chrom sighed. He was going to have his hands full.


Caleb left the training grounds and focused on the next part of his day. Strategy. He had promised Chrom that he would do it and he was a man of his word. Besides he'd had enough fun sparing with Lucina and had found himself with a pleasing outcome. Sure it wasn't as good as he would have liked (he swore she was holding back) but it was still a victory. Which meant he could plan that date...and Caleb couldn't help but blush violently at the thought. He was most certainly looking forward to it.

“Is everything alright Caleb?” Chrom asked with a raise eyebrow. Caleb sighed wistfully,

“Of course Chrom.” The tactician said doing his best to keep a straight face, “I was just tossing some ideas around for a nice date with Lucy.” Chrom froze and Caleb kept his face as straight as possible knowing full well what he had just said. “Oh who am I kidding?” Caleb sighed, “We have a few options to take on Steiger but none of them are favourable at present.”

Chrom was surprised by the almost complete one eighty that Caleb pulled that he had very little to say, “Ok so what do you have?”

“Well so not that much. We could in theory make a surgical strike to the fort's heart and take out their commander to throw them into disorder. Simple but given that the Valmese expect such a strategy more than likely it would also be easily over turned by reinforcements. We could do hit and run tactics but that again would be too obvious.” Caleb said quietly, “Although a combination of the two may prove to be very useful. We could trick them into thinking we're attacking in one location by sending in a separate army to create a distraction to draw out most of their forces away from the fort. Then we have a second team go to the fort and take out the commander. It is a risky strategy true but it might just buy us some time to get their numbers down.”

“Is there any other problems that might come up?” Chrom asked the tactician and Caleb sighed,

“Yen'fey's army.” Caleb said. “From what I know there is considerable consequences should we get caught between two armies and that alone is why I am loathe to use this particular plan. We however do not have a choice. It is our only option at this point.”

“Then we'd best prepare the army then.”

“Chrom...could you...please send in Basilio, I have something I want to ask him.”

“Uh...sure Caleb.” He frowned and wondered why the young tactician wanted to speak with the Feroxi Khan but thought little of it. Instead he did as the young man asked of him. He then went about the army making sure that they were able to carry out the plan that Caleb had come up with.


With Basilio spoken with Caleb's over arching plan was good to go. He had told Basilio what had happened in their time and knew that the man would heed the warning. Even so Caleb knew that he could not tell anyone what the plan was. There was also the chance that Grima would have a contingency plan to prevent Caleb's tactics from working but the tactician had made his choice. His only disappointment was that he couldn't tell Lucina about what he'd planned. At least not yet. After all it required a little trickery and a whole lot of luck. Something that Caleb didn't particularly enjoy doing but given that it was needed...well Caleb wasn't going to argue with the Khan. Not when it was the kind of plan that required Validar to look like a fool once Basilio “died”.


So it was that Caleb stood on a new battlefield with Say'ri assuring him that the resistance were all in all going to assist. Caleb still didn't think that Say'ri was as smart as she thought she was. He could tell that there was trouble brewing...massive trouble. All Caleb could do was hope that they got the trap sprung his way. They could not afford to lose any more men this war...

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Chapter XXII: New Growth


WAIT YOU SAID WHAT?!” Inigo half yelled, half screamed

I said I refuse to honour my mother's promise.” Lucina said calmly, “Since I do not want to marry you I won't.”

The hell you won't!” Inigo yelled, “You were meant to be mine!”

I never was nor will I ever be yours Inigo.” Lucina said dangerously softly, “How dare you assume that I am some slave to my mother's will.” Falchion was close to his throat, “Get out of my sight!”

I won't. YOU BELONG TO ME! YOU DO WHAT I TELL YOU TO!” Inigo yelled,

Stand down Inigo.” Caleb said firmly, “You heard the orders of your Exalt. If you refuse her-”


Inigo I'm warning you, stand down now.” Lucina spoke coldly with the kind of authority that Inigo couldn't ignore but he still ignored her. “Caleb.”

The tactician knew what she was commanding and roared, “THORON!”

Inigo looked shocked as Caleb's bolt of Thoron hit home and for the first time in his life Inigo was on his knees winded by Lucina's command as he had refused her order enough. “Y-you Plegian bastard!”

Enough!” Lucina snapped, “I'll not have you slander my tactician!”

Caleb stood quietly by Lucina's side and said calmly, “Chrom's will...was that Lucina be allowed to choose who she marries. The will of an Exalt supersedes a Consort.” Caleb said softly, “Inigo, please stop making yourself look like a fool. You shame your father's very being with your behaviour.”

Damn straight Caleb.” Kjelle said opening the door widely to reveal Yarne and Nah looking slightly battered and beaten,

Yarne! Nah! Are you two-”

Cottontail is dead...” Nah said sadly

WHAT?!” Caleb felt as if a knife was hitting him in the chest...if Cottontail was gone then that meant that only Yarne was left of the Taguel siblings. Caleb knew it was a bitter blow indeed.

S-she...sh-she died saving me!” Yarne suddenly wailed, “M-my sister is gone! MY SISTER IS GONE!”

And extra powerful risen are on their way.” Nah said softly. Caleb grit his teeth,

Still no sign of the last gem for the Emblem?”


GOD'S DAMN IT!” Caleb cursed,

We make for Mount Prism come the morn.” Lucina decided, “Caleb. I want you to come with me.”

B-but Lucy...” Caleb looked at her and he sighed then bowed, “Your wish is my command. I will accompany you.”

Hoi fair cousin,” Owain spoke with Severa at his side, “I too wish to support your plea to Naga. Please let the Justice Cabal join you in your quest for the light.”

Owain...” Lucina looked pained then she sighed, “I need you here to protect Brady. I do not want to lose you too.”

Might I suggest Lucy that all of us go?” Caleb spoke gently, “That way we know that everyone is safe.” Lucina made a small smile,

Very well. We will all go.” She said, “We'll leave at first light before the risen have a chance to reach us.”


Caleb's plan was so far working. The confusion that was happening to the Valmese was enough to ensure that the fight was a lot easier than what it might have been if they'd gone with his mother's original plan. Even so Caleb knew that it would not be that easy and that he was going to have to be careful. He had for this battle Lucina with her father. He was with Inigo to make sure that the mercenary didn't get into trouble. Not the best tactic to be sure but Inigo needed the support and Nah wanted to fight with Owain because she was sick of having to babysit the mercenary. Which Caleb decided was fair enough. Even so he could tell that Inigo wasn't happy with the arrangement. If the occasional huffs and mutterings were anything to go by. In the end Caleb ignored it and focused on watching the young man's back. They were allies after all and Caleb still owed Inigo that much at the very least.


Inigo was annoyed. Well kind of annoyed. He supposed he could have a worse battle partner than Caleb. Caleb was a skilled mage and that was all well and good but the mercenary just couldn't see why Lucina chose this man over him. He barely dodged an axe and made a retaliation strike. Caleb was quick to make a blast of Thoron to finish the man off. “I suppose I should thank you.” Was all Inigo said flicking the blood off his sword,

“No need.” Caleb replied then the tactician's expression shifted to one of what Inigo could only describe as fear, “GET DOWN!” The tactician moved swiftly and shoved Inigo to the ground which at first made him mad until he saw Caleb literally throw himself between Inigo and a War Cleric in a move that was all too familiar to Inigo. Time suddenly seemed to slow down as Caleb bore the brunt of an axe to his shoulder. Inigo gaped as the wound cut the tactician deeply. Purple flames encircled the tactician, “YOU'RE FINISHED!”

If the War Cleric wasn't afraid before now she most certainly was, “AH!” She screamed as she was literally blown apart by Thoron. Inigo gaped as Caleb half collapsed. Without thinking the merc caught him.

“Gods...damn it!” Caleb groaned, his left arm refusing to move. “That...could have been worse.” He looked over at Inigo, “You alright?”

“F-fine.” Inigo said but his pale face betrayed him,

“I did tell you not to get too-”

“Complacent on the battlefield.” Inigo finished for him, “I...I know...”

Caleb half smiled then winced in pain. Of course he tried to keep a brave face for Inigo's sake, “Right we need to get to the others.” Caleb said trying to stand. The moment that he did however the pain made him stop.

“Somehow I don't think we should be going anywhere right now.” Inigo spoke seriously,

“Do you have a vulnery Inigo?” Caleb asked

“I..I have one.”

“Alright. That will have to do for now.”


“Trust me.” He said firmly, “You're going to have to pour it on this,” Caleb indicated to his injured shoulder, “It won't do that much but it will be enough to get us to a safer location.”

“What about your medical supplies?”

“Fresh out of them I'm afraid.” Caleb sighed,


“Nah...she over did it in training and forgot her elixer.”

“Ah...I see.” Inigo replied. He was shocked to see just how bad the shoulder wound actually was on the tactician. He realised it was small wonder Caleb had retaliated with so much power. Inigo quickly pulled the cap off the vulnery and poured it onto Caleb's left and very much injured shoulder. The tactician let out a grunt of pain but otherwise seemed to fine. Inigo though knew that Caleb was in far more pain than he was letting in on. Inigo frowned and came to the tactician's uninjured right side. “Well no time like the present I suppose.” He said hoisting Caleb up with the tactician's arm over Inigo's shoulders. Caleb tried not to let out a groan of pain but it was difficult. Caleb leant on Inigo as little as possible as he walked. The memories swirling in the young man's head as he remembered how his mother died protecting him.


While Caleb and Inigo were trying to get to the others, Chrom and Lucina had their hands full with the resistance that had as Caleb predicted turned against them. Caleb had said if that was the case for a retreat and regroup to break through and escape. Chrom was glad that Lucina was fighting alongside him. It allowed Chrom to learn more about her. Maribelle was back at the Shepherds' current camp as she was working on making sure that the wounded were tended to. In the chaos of the battlefield it was clear that the shepherds were retreating as Caleb had suggested. This was a lost battle for now.


Once Inigo and Caleb were out of the fort the main thing was to get back to camp. Unfortunately for Inigo Caleb pretty much had passed out, doubtless from the pain that the tactician was in. Which meant that Inigo had to improvise; something he wasn't particularly good at. He managed to get them out of the fort at least so there was that victory. He tried to keep himself from panicking but it was difficult as he couldn't help but remembering what happened to his mother. He did remember that Caleb had told the Shepherds that it was possible that the resistance would turn on them and that if they did that the Shepherds would need to retreat. Inigo though didn't know where. He supposed that he would have to figure that out. He looked over at Caleb and sighed, “Why of all the times you could have left me didn't you?” He asked the unconscious tactician, “You could have thrown me by the wayside and it never would have mattered,” Inigo said then he sighed, “I have to do something,” He half sobbed, “B-but I was never one for thinking things through.” Inigo frowned, “Wait a minute...doesn't Caleb normally have a pocket where he keeps things for a medical emergency like this?” He muttered to himself and sighed, “Sorry Caleb.” He said to the still unresponsive tactician, “I'm going to have to find that pocket. Gods he's going to hate me for this!”


Half an hour of digging through the various pockets in Caleb's coat wasn't fun. Inigo found Caleb's strategy notebook which had a lot more strategies than personal thoughts on his allies, a pouch with some gold in it that also contained a necklace that Inigo knew present Robin wore and all that had been recovered on the day the future Robin was killed as well as her wedding ring. He was surprised that Caleb hadn't given it to Lucina but he reasoned perhaps Lucina didn't want to wear it given its clearly Plegian design. He also found a tome pocket that held Caleb's battle tomes that he wasn't using. Inigo placed them back where he found them and searched the last pocket that he felt was far too small to hold anything of medical use. His hand came across another pouch. With a sigh he pulled it out and was surprised by how large it was. He felt his jaw drop, “What in gods' name.” He muttered but he opened the pouch. Inside was a field medical kit. Relief flooded through Inigo, “Thank gods you think ahead Caleb.” He said quickly opening it. He noticed that there was a slave that said 'For burns' and noticed that there was a note, 'get an elixer' he notice that there was gauze and some bandages. Also there was what looked like vials of clear water. He frowned, “Alright let's see if I remember what Mother said about dressing wounds.” Inigo muttered.


It took a while to clean the wound and get the appropriate dressings on it. However given that Caleb's kit carried everything that Inigo needed to dress the wound without having to resort to magic the young man did his best. He knew that he would have to explain to Caleb what he had to do but he had a feeling that the tactician would understand. Even so Inigo hoped that Caleb wouldn't be too mad at him. Inigo felt a sense of pride that he'd managed to remember what his mother had told him about field dressings. All he could do now was try to get to a safe spot once he put Caleb's kit back where it belonged. He was about to lift up the tactician when he heard a noise. He grabbed his sword and for a few tense seconds it seemed like he was hearing things. “Hello!” A familiar voice called out, “Anyone there?”

“Anna!” Inigo cried with relief and Anna came over towards them,

“Inigo...do you know where...” Anna paused as she saw Inigo half supporting the tactician half holding his sword defensively, “Oh. He's with you.”

“Caleb's hurt Anna.” Inigo said quickly, “He needs a healer. I've done my best...but...”

“I understand,” She said, and she came over to have a look, “That is some first class work.” She smiled, “We'll be able to move him back to camp.”

“Right,” Inigo replied, “I'll follow your lead Anna.” He said deciding that he didn't have time to flirt as Caleb needed help.


Caleb felt oddly at ease. His shoulder hurt but not so much that it would keep him out of action like his mother. He knew he was in the medical tent but his concern lay else where. He opened his eyes and hastened to sit up. His shoulder burned but he could ignore it for now. “HEY YOU LAY BACK DOWN NOW BUSTER!” Lissa's yell made Caleb half jump as she came over with a frown on her face. Inigo oddly was right behind her, almost following her for some reason Caleb didn't know.

“I'm fine Lissa,” Caleb replied calmly, “Doubtless there are others who need your help more than I do right now.”

“Caleb!” Lissa said sharply, pressing the tactician to lay back down. She avoided his shoulder. Caleb however swung his legs over the side of the bed much to Lissa's dismay,

“I'll be fine.” Caleb said now trying to stand up. “Honest Lissa.”

“You should be in bed resting!” Lissa said firmly,

“I'm sorry but there isn't time for that.” Caleb said calmly, “Chrom needs our next move. I'm guessing the resistance acted exactly as I guessed they did?”

“Yeah.” Inigo said quietly,

“Then I need to speak with Chrom. We need to buy some time and make sure that we turn the tide.”

“Uh...Caleb...”Inigo began,

“Inigo, we can talk on the way.” Caleb replied and the mercenary blinked, “Or are you here just to waste time?”

“N-no...actually I wanted to speak with you.” Inigo said quickly,

“Alright then, let's go.” Caleb said reaching for his coat which had been expertly mended by Cherche,

“Caleb you have an injury that needs to be tended to.” Lissa said sternly,

“An injury that will heal on its own thanks to the field dressings.” Caleb said calmly, “If it gets worse you'll be the first to know Lissa, I promise.”

Lissa sighed as the pair left the medical tent. She knew that Robin was going to have her head if she found out that her son was already out of bed while she was on forced bed rest. Still Caleb had a point Lissa supposed. Inigo did do an amazing job of dressing the tactician's shoulder. It reminded Lissa of how Olivia did her field dressings. Lissa sighed.


“Well I suppose I can't blame you for that Inigo.” Caleb said as Inigo spoke to the tactician. “I suppose you want to know why I can fit so much into the pockets huh?” He smiled, “I don't suppose you've heard of an expansion hex have you?”

“Er...no...” Inigo said truthfully,

“It's a hex that expands the storage space of an object, in this case my coat.”

“And that's how you fit so much into it?” Inigo said surprised,

“Yeah, pretty handy sometimes.” Caleb smirked, then he sighed, “Right here we are.” He said as Lucina spotted them.

“CALEB!” She cried and hugged him tightly. Caleb stroked her hair much less awkwardly than in the past,

“I'm fine Lucy,” He reassured her, “I'm not about to die on anyone just yet.”

“Caleb.” Chrom came out to see what the fuss was about and saw that Caleb was out of the medical tent,

“I've got a plan for our next move Chrom.” Caleb said, “But we're going to need both the Khans as well as my Mother for this.”

“Okay...” Chrom said confused,

“Trust me, it's pretty important.” Caleb said calmly.

“I'll take your word for it.” Chrom responded and proceeded to do as he was asked,

“Are you doing what I think you may be doing Caleb?” Inigo asked,

“Possibly.” Caleb said giving Inigo a serious look, “I owe you.”

“Well you did save my butt so it was merely returning the favour.” Inigo replied,

“I'm serious.” Caleb said looking Inigo in the eye, “Just...try not to over step boundaries...please.”

“I'll keep it mind.” Inigo said with a grin then he gave Caleb a salute and headed off to his own tasks.

“And the Stahl part of him finally shows up.” Caleb sighed,

“What do you mean Caleb?” Lucina asked,

“Did you see it?” Caleb asked

“See what?”

“He's grown a little.” Caleb replied and Lucina's jaw dropped,


Yes Lucy.” He replied, “Let's hope that he keeps growing the right way.”

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Chapter XXIII: A New Resolve


"The heart still sleeps...But the blood flows through it. The blood is strong...And at the appointed time, the heart will awaken to bring about the destruction of the earth...”

The soft chants filled the halls as the young woman was dragged to the alter. Countless Grimleal were watching to make certain that the potential heart of Grima was conceived. She was unable to move, paralysed by the hex that had been placed upon her. Her head lolled uselessly as she was tied to the alter. The chanting continued accompanied with the dull thudding of drums as the faithful continued their chanting. A smell of blood permeated the air as they sacrificed a young girl. The young woman noticed the odd ears and knew that a Manakete had just been slain the wyvernslayer covered with the poor creature's blood. She tried to struggle as dark magic rose like a shimmering curtain around the alter where she was tied. A figure in the robes of the Holy Bloodline brushed her cheek, “Sleep.” The male voice said so soothingly, “For you will have the greatest honour of all.” She felt her eyes closing against her will. She could feel herself being restrained into a position that would allow the greatest chance for conception though her eyelids refused to open. Her body was adorned with patterns of the freshly killed Manakete's blood and she tried to scream at them to stop. Yet she couldn't. Her voice was gone to the mindless chanting and beats of the drum. She let out a grunt of pain as she was entered. She knew it was Validar. He was the only man with the purest blood. She the only woman with the Blood of Grima in her veins. How she cursed that blood now. She curse her mother and her father for creating her as pain throbbed in her lower regions with each thrust she felt from him. She could taste so much dark magic now it was so strong. The she began to wonder if this is what her mother went through. The pain increased as she felt the dark magic rise through her body. If she had a word to describe the pain it was like fire. She struggled against the leather straps helplessly, “At the appointed time the heart will awaken to bring about the destruction of the earth.” The male voice that had forced her eyes closed spoke softly into her ears. She would have frowned if not for the fact that her face was forced to be serene. “And at that time we must approach the Dragon's Table and give to Grima our souls to reap. For only then can Grima reclaim the power that Naga stole from him and bring about the eternal night.” The voice sounded amused and the young woman felt afraid as he spoke to her, “The ritual is nearing completion dear Robin.” A hand ran through her hair and she knew it was this man, not Validar as his unceasing thrusts continued, “Soon you will bare the vessel for Grima...and when he is born he will carry the heart as he was meant to.” The young woman felt dread fill her, dread that could not be seen. The male chuckled as she felt yet more pain. She had little way of knowing that the male who stood there speaking to her was a future self of the baby that she was about to conceive...


Caleb sighed as he took in the battle report that was given to him by Frederick. The commander of the Fort had been killed in the last battle; Caleb had successfully achieved the goal he set out to do. Their position however was compromised. Caleb sighed as he tried to think about the next and more important course of action. They were surrounded only in name really and Caleb knew that they had to get out of the area now. His mother hobbled leaning on Maribelle as she came forward to the little meeting that Caleb had called for with Chrom and the Khans yet to arrive. Caleb knew it was a risk but he also knew that she was in danger of far worse than just her injuries. He had to get her to the safest place possible so that she could heal in safety. He frowned as he could see that she was still in a world of pain. A part of him felt guilty but he knew for her sake and the sake of those that had been seriously injured it had to be done. He needed her to be on board with it. She would hate to be sent back to Ylisse but Caleb knew it was for her sake; at least he was telling himself that. Flavia was the next to arrive with Basilio, both gave the tactician a meaningful look. Lastly Chrom and Lucina arrived with Brady bringing up the rear carrying his mend staff and Say'ri looking confused. Caleb looked serious, “Alright everyone. I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that we're surrounded by the former resistance.”

“Fie...” Say'ri's regret and shame was clear to see eve though she'd only said a word, “Words cannot express my shame and regret.”

Caleb heaved a sigh, “You know that it is rude to interrupt people right?”

Say'ri suddenly looked guiltily at Caleb, “Forgive me Milord.”

“Say'ri, please just refer to me as Caleb. I'd feel a lot more comfortable with that.” Caleb spoke calmly and gently. Say'ri blinked in surprise and Caleb continued what he needed to tell them. “The good news is that we defeated General Pheros which thankfully; will throw the southern division into disarray for now until a new General takes command. Hopefully that will give us enough time for phase two of my plan. We're going to attack Walhart and Yen'fey.” There was silence for a moment and Flavia spoke,

“You would divide our army in half while we're still in-”

“Not in half.” Caleb said shaking his head, “More like sending a small force to distract Walhart so we can deal with Yen'fey without Walhart being a nuisance to deal with.” Robin looked thoughtful,

“Are you sure Caleb?” She asked, “I an understand what you're hoping for but as you said, we are surrounded.”

“In name Mother. The Dynasts are not likely to truly surround us. We'll need to leave right away.” He sighed, “Also we're going to have to move our injured soldiers back to the Port to get back to Ylisse if we have to.”

“No.” Robin said firmly,

“Think about it logically Mother!” Caleb shot back. “We're in a land that we know next to nothing about! The last thing we need is the Valmese cutting down our healers while they're  trying to care for people! Or what if our wounded get an infection and need round the clock healing?” Caleb said firmly, “I'm sorry but while I'm the tactician I'm going to do my gods damn best to keep everyone alive. I know you don't want to but this isn't about what we want to do. It's about what we have to do. We'll travel much faster without having to move our injured units as well.”

Robin suddenly let out a sigh, “You're right Caleb.” She said at last, “I understand what you're trying to do.”

“Right I'll order for an honour guard to protect our injured while they travel back to Port.” Chrom replied and Robin spoke,

“Chrom I know this might be a bit out of the blue but I feel that it would be best for Caleb to stay on as the tactician. I'm unfortunately going to be out of action for much longer than anticipated.”
“Robin...” Chrom said shocked,

“I can't use a weapon Chrom.” Robin said softly, “I might get away with magic but I won't be able to use a sword ever again.”

“Mother...” Caleb winced,

“I got done in pretty good.” Robin sighed, “Right now however we need to focus on the task at hand.”

“Forgive my intrusion.” A soldier came running with his chest heaving as he , “I bring die news! Walhart and Yen'fey's forces are marching towards us!”

“Right.” Caleb said calmly, “Breath soldier.”

“B-but Milord Tactician...”

“Listen to me very carefully,” Caleb said, “I am aware of the situation. I appreciate you bringing this new back to us all the same. Are you able to join the honour guard to help transport our wounded soldiers back to Port? I would very much appreciate it.”

“I-I can sir!”

“Thank you soldier. Have some food, water and some rest and we'll see you with the honour guard.”

“As you command Lord Tactician!” The soldier bowed and Caleb sighed,

“As I was saying before,” Caleb said, “We're going to attack both Walhart and Yen'fey. We'll need a small enough force to distract him while our strongest troops focus on Yen'fey.” He frowned, “I don't like having to do things like that but given our current position...”

“Hmm...spending lives to buy time eh boy?” Basilio said,

“Sadly there isn't much choice. I assume that you're still intent on leading the squad?”

Basilio laughed, “Of course I am.” Lucina was about to speak when the Khan continued, “I think I know what you're planing to say lass.” She gave him a worried look, “I already told Caleb here that I'd be careful.”

“I-it's not that simple!” Lucina cried and Caleb simply watched the scene play out before him,

“Don't worry love, he'll be fine,” Flavia soothed, “He'll have me to keep an eye on him.”

“Hell no!” Basilio said firmly, “You're the reigning Khan!”

“I thought that you intended to survive this oaf!” Flavia shot back, “Regna Ferox has two Khans and now you're responsible for both! I DARE YOU TO DIE NOW!”

Basilio suddenly grinned widely and howled with laughter. After a few seconds the Khan said, “Well I can't argue with that. Alright you can come. I hope that doesn't put a spanner in the works for you Chrom.”

“Just stay safe.” Chrom said as Caleb sighed, Flavia laughed,

“I fully intend to bring him back on a leash if I have to.”

“Alright then, we'll be off.” Basilio said calmly and he added, “As for your future it can kiss my big brown Feroxi arse! I fully intend to out live you sprogs!” Caleb sighed as the man left with Flavia. He had a bad feeling about what was about to happen. Robin spoke,

“I know that you've made a difficult choice Caleb. But rest assured Basilio will be fine.”

“I still can't help but worry.” Caleb said, “I know he said that he'd be careful but...”

“He knows what he's doing. As do you my son.” Robin said quietly, “I still do not like putting this degree of a burden on your shoulders but it is what it is. I can only hope that you can forgive me for not thinking ahead like I should have been.”


Lucina listened to what was being said and sighed inwardly. Robin's injuries were not good news. In fact that news that Robin was going to be out of action even longer than before wasn't a good thing. She had no idea how that would affect the future as Caleb's mother had never gotten injured at all. In fact she'd been just fine (save of course for the eye she'd lost but that didn't seem to affect her in combat). It stood to reason that Lucina had to figure out what to do and to that end she had Caleb. She sighed as the others were speaking about the finer points of the strategy that Caleb was planing on using and she helped out where she could with minor suggestions as Caleb did what he did best.


There was a reason that she and the others had survived as long as they had and it wasn' down to luck. Caleb was an amazing strategist. He was one of the most brilliant strategists of their world that had ever existed. He was in short someone who tried to best the odds. Lucina knew hat whatever happened she would stay by Caleb's side. She would support her husband as best she could as he supported her. She also knew that irrespective of what her own Mother had thought or ordered she was glad she'd chosen Caleb. Glad that her father had given her the option to chose and glad that Alana was with them. She smiled as Caleb finalised the plans. He had a burden and a half on his shoulders and Lucina knew that she would stand at his side to help him shoulder those burdens. She wanted him to know that he was never alone.


There was a stillness over the camp as Caleb prepared to move out. He sat with his mother in the medical tent and she looked less than pleased at the fact that Chrom had trusted Caleb's judgement over her own, however it seemed that Caleb was too used to transporting the wounded to another location. She had to wonder what her son was thinking. With a sigh she rocked back and winced as pain hit her. Caleb spoke in Plegian as he didn't want anyone save for himself and his mother to understand the conversation that was going on, “Mother, we need to talk...

“Caleb why...?”

Please Mother, I don't want ears to know things that they shouldn't.” He replied and Robin sighed wearily,

Alright then Caleb. What is it that is so important that you resort to Plegian despite knowing that both Henry and Tharja will know what we're talking about?

As I said there are ears that do not need to know what we're talking about.” Caleb replied, “I don't know if you ever had plans in my time to ever tell me who my father was...

In fact I doubted very much that you would even now.

Robin sighed and said softly, “Caleb, it isn't something that-

I have a right to know Mother. I already know what the Mark of Grima means.

Robin felt as if someone had put ice down her throat and into her gut, “How Caleb?” She asked her son, “How do you know?

Caleb let out a heavy sigh, then replied, “The heart still sleeps but the blood flows through it. The blood is strong. At the appointed time the heart will awaken and bring about the destruction of the earth. At that time the faithful must go to the Dragon's Table where they will offer their souls for Grima to reap. For only when Grima awakens will he regain the power that Naga stole from him and plunge the world into an eternal night...

Robin gaped, “H-how...I...I know I would never have...I...I know I would never have taught that to you!

I know that this might seem...well...odd at best but...I've heard those words before.” The tactician admitted, “That and I might have done some research on the Mark.

Robin gave her son a hurt look, “Why Caleb?” She asked, “Why would you...?

I had questions that you never wanted to answer.” He admitted, “I felt it was the only way to get to the truth of the matter.

Robin felt a sharp pain that wasn't her injuries acting up again. Without warning she suddenly pulled Caleb into an embrace and couldn't help but feel hurt in her heart. Her future self had really messed up she realised. She had wanted to wait until Caleb was a little older to even tell him what he'd found out himself. She could not have imagined how much that could have hurt him. “I really am inflexible...aren't I?” She said noticing that Caleb made no move to pull out of her embrace and that his shoulders were actually shaking, “I cannot speak for her...but I know she only wanted to protect you from that pain. Forgive me Caleb...I guess I should have listened to my instincts more readily.

M-mother...” Caleb sniffled and Robin smiled,

“I know you have a duty to see to.” She eventually let him go and wiped away a stray tear on his cheek, “I also know if there is anyone that can help Chrom and the Shepherds it would be you. I have faith in you Caleb. No matter what I know that when the time comes you will find a way to defeat Grima and...your father Validar.” Robin said the last part softly in Plegian and Caleb seemed to understand what she was saying. Robin sighed, “I'd best be ready to go.” She said reverting to Ylissean and Caleb half smiled but it was clear that he wasn't happy with the decision that he'd made, “Oh before I forget...please tell Chrom that I'm sorry. I'm sure that he'll understand.”

“Of course Mother.” Caleb replied and he saw a young cleric arrive to help Robin out to the wagon that was waiting for her to take her back to Ylisse. “I'll end this war as soon as I can.” He promised his mother and Robin gently stroked his cheek,

“I know you will Caleb.” She smiled and Caleb felt like a knife was in his chest. She wore the same expression as the day she'd gone to face Validar...his father in the doomed future. Caleb waited until they left out of earshot before he finally broke down crying. He felt like a small child all over again and his mother was going off to war without him.


By the time Caleb calmed he gave Chrom the message Robin said to give him. Chrom didn't ask about the slightly dishevelled appearance of the young tactician. He knew that Caleb was only doing what he felt was right by his mother. It didn't help that Robin had got an infection a few days ago that was hampering her healing process. He also knew that with the skilled clerics that they had would help Robin recover far better than what she was at present so Caleb really had made the tactical choice. Chrom noticed that Caleb seemed to be upset still. He sighed, “So I take it you're duelling with some unpleasant thoughts Caleb?” Chrom guessed and Caleb let out a low almost sad chuckle,

“I suppose I am.” The tactician replied, “I'm sorry Chrom I need to be as focused as possible right now.”

“We can talk it over Caleb.” Chrom suggested, “If of course you feel up to it.” He saw Caleb give a half smile. One that seemed a little more genuine than the chuckle,

“I suppose that would help...but I'm not sure how much it would...”

“I might not be as tactically intuitive as Robin but-”

“It's not so much the tactics...” Caleb said, “I...might have asked my mother...something she wasn't entirely...comfortable in telling me...” Chrom waited to see what Caleb was going to do and the young man sighed, “She told me...that my father was Validar.” Chrom blinked in surprise but he could see bits and pieces of the new Plegian king in the boy. Though dare Chrom be honest Caleb had a far stronger resemblance to his mother than his father,

'A good thing that.' Chrom thought to himself he spoke, “Given what I know of Robin she likely knew that question was bound to come up sometime.” Chrom said to the young tactician. He noticed that Caleb seemed down so he said, “However as far as I am concerned you are your own man before you're any man's son.” Caleb looked up at Chrom with wide eyes. Then he smiled.

“Thank you Chrom.” He said “I can see where Lucy gets that one from.”


Caleb chuckled, “She said that to me more than once...and I suppose she got that from you...well the future you...”

“I see.” Chrom grinned, “Well I suppose I'm doing something right then!”

“Hmm...that reminds me...” Caleb said with a distant nostalgic look in his eye, “You never did mention what happened to the bear that tried to steal Frederick's horse.”

“Some things...are best left unsaid Caleb.” Chrom said shuddering

“I suppose so.” Caleb said as Lucina arrived,

“Pardon the intrusion but what were you talking about?”

“The bear story.” Caleb said and Lucina's eyes widened as excitement took over,

“Father could you please tell us how it ended?”

“Oh gods...” Chrom muttered, “I don't think...” He began only to be completely surrounded by the Future Shepherds seemingly appearing from nowhere. He sighed, “Well...I suppose I could tell you. But you all must promise not a word to Lissa or Maribelle that I told you.”

“We promise~!” Caleb said eager to hear the story again, “Right guys?”

“Yeah!” Severa said and added, “It's not like I care or anything but I wanna know how it ends.”

“A story that was lost to the ages shall finally be revealed at long last!” Owain said practically jumping up and down,

“I-I would like to know too.” Yarne said from the back of the group, “I-it was scary b-but I want to know what Father did...”

“BLOOD AND THUNDER I MUST KNOW HOW IT ENDS!” Noire yelled and then blushed, “S-sorry...I didn't mean to get carried away.”

“I'd like to know how it ends.” Kjelle said calmly

“Indeed I too would like to know. Perhaps my logical deductions would be slightly amiss if I didn't hear the ending to this story.” Laurent responded.

Edited by TheSilentChloey

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Chapter XXIV: The Tactician's Plan


The Shepherds moved rapidly from the lush forests surrounding Demon's Ingle and into the rock terrain that surrounded the volcano. An area that Caleb said they wanted to meet Yen'fey and it would prevent them from fighting on two fronts. The young tactician had made his move. He also made sure to cover the Shepherds' tracks as best he could. They did not need to meet another enemy while they were essentially travelling at breakneck pace. Caleb was the one riding the odd horse that Lucina caught. He was disguised as a Valmese Bow Knight with Lucina holding onto him as a Valmese Sage. It was time for him to meet with one of the Valmese scouts. He carried detailed but false documents that said the Shepherds were mobilising a full retreat back to the coast. He spotted the man he was looking for.

Hail Traveller!” He called and the man turned in surprise.

Huh? Who are you?”

A messenger from General Pheros.” Caleb said calmly, “She asked me to send these papers along to the nearest scout.” He said calmly and the man tilted his head,

Pheros huh?” He said and he raised an eyebrow, “What's with the Sage lady?”

My wife wanted to come with me to make sure I made it safely.” Caleb said and the man actually chuckled,

Oh, I see. You have a very dedicated wife. So then what's the message?”

The Enemy is making a full retreat to the coast as they were defeated at Steiger.” Caleb said then he pulled out the papers that he'd had Gaius raid from the fort as well as Pheros' seal. The man raised an eyebrow and said with a grin,

Oh you poor bastard. I feel sorry for any one of her errand boys I really do.”

Well I'm not much of a good shot.” Caleb shrugged as the man checked the papers. “Say do you know where General Yen'fey is? I've got to make a trip to him too apparently.”

Well last I heard he was about five days south of here. Mind you they've set up camp and won't be moving for another week.” The scout said and Caleb made it seem like he was relieved,

Thank you!” He said with a smile, “I trust that you'll be quite busy in the coming days.”

Yeah, but at least I don't work directly for Walhart. That bastard's a pain in the arse to deal with. I guess that's why I feel sorry for Pheros' errand runners because they usually have to go to Walhart!”

I lucked out?” Caleb said

Yeah. She must've sent someone else to Walhart huh?”

Yeah.” Caleb said and the horse snorted. Caleb pet his neck and the man said,

New to horses huh?”

Yes. I'm relatively new to them.”

Ah so that's why she's got you on messenger duties!” The man said, “Well at least you and your friend will have plenty of time to get used to one another.”

Thanks.” Caleb said, “I'll keep that in mind. For now though I need to head to the Sage's Hamlet do you know the way?” Caleb asked,

The Hamlet? Oh sure just keep going along the river here. It's about half a day's ride away from here.” The man said, “So she's not just got you carrying messages but fetching staves as well? That's rough buddy.”

Tell me about it.” Caleb said pretending that he wasn't too happy about it, “At any rate thank you very much for your help. We'd best be off lest our General punishes us for being too slow.”

Good luck kid!” the scout said and Caleb waved to the man. Lucina of course kept her head lowered until they were clear of the scout and she lent on Caleb's back. He grimaced as they had more road to cover than he'd first hoped. Even so it was about time for them to make their move. He needed to get into the Hamlet for his own reasons. He needed to make sure that there wasn't a horde of Valmese to the North. And so far the misinformation tactic was working perfectly.


Even so Caleb knew that there was a lot of work that needed to be done. He and Lucina had done their part. They would have to get to the Hamlet ahead so that Lissa could use the teleport staff to pull them back into the Shepherds' forces. Caleb trotted on and Lucina's grip suddenly tightened and Caleb pulled the horse to a stop. “What is it Lucy?” He asked and she spoke,

Up ahead.” She said and Caleb tilted his head,

Is that...?” Caleb said as he urged the horse to walk on. Lucina and Caleb both gaped as they came across what had to be a caravan of merchants.

Come one come all!” The merchant cried, “Healing supplies and seals for convenience!”

Anna!” Lucina cried, “It's an Anna!”

True to Lucina's word it was indeed an Anna. The merchant spotted them and said, “Hello there travellers! Can I interest you in some of my wears?”

Hello Anna.” Caleb said with a smile, “You wouldn't happen to have some elixers would you?” He asked. Anna blinked and said,

Well I might have some.” She said going into her wagon and rummaging around in it. She came out with some blue coloured bottles. “Are these what you're looking for?” She asked with a grin. Suddenly a man arrived looking sweaty and frightened,

Miss Anna! Our caravan is being attacked!”

What?!” Anna said shocked, “What's attacking us?!””

Uggh!” Caleb groaned as the headache came much too suddenly.

Caleb?!” Lucina cried worried,

Creatures!” The man cried, “Horrible creatures!”

Anna. Our purchase will have to wait.” Caleb said, “I'll get those risen gone!” He said pulling out the bow. He pushed the horse to head to where the enemy was.


An hour passed as Anna watched the young bow knight and his sage partner take out the “risen”. She was stunned by the ease at which the young man used the bow. His partner was pretty good with the magic thing too. She gaped as the risen were easily cleared up, “Wow. Say handsome how about I give you those elixers for your help.” She said when he at last returned to where Anna and her convoy were waiting, “Oh and I'll throw in some second seals as well~!”

Thank you Anna.” The young man said, “I'm sure that your sister will appreciate the help.”

Ohhh...” Anna grinned widely, “Of course! Though could I possibly trouble you for another favour? I'll certainly make it worth your while.”

Are you headed to Sage's Hamlet?” The young man asked and Anna grinned,

Why yes we are?”

Very well. We'll make sure you get there safely Anna.” He said and she gaped, “It's truly a pleasure to help you.”

Wow...” Anna said and then she noticed that the sage was frowning. Upon closer inspection Anna realised that the cute bow knight was taken. So much for a handsome knight in armour...


By the time they had arrived in the Sage's Hamlet Anna was relieved to have made it in one piece. She gave the young man the goods she promised and asked him to let her sister know that she was in once piece. The young knight smiled and the Sage unleashed a blast of Elwind into the air. In less than half a second a teleport magic ring appeared and the pair were gone. Anna grinned and said, “Good luck Shepherds.” Then she set about her task. She would lie to the Valmese about who'd helped her of course. She had word from her sister that the Shepherds were in Valm to liberate it. And an Anna always helped her sisters. Still there was money to be made and Anna needed to make some gold in order to spend it.


By the time Caleb and Lucina had arrived back to camp, Caleb headed to the strategy tent and sighed. Yen'fey was five days to the east of the Shepherds' current camp which meant that they had to move even faster if they wanted to get where the young tactician had decided that they needed to go. A small girl sat in the tent reading a book and Caleb sighed. Poor Alana was less than pleased about the speed at which the trip was going. Still his daughter said little and had done everything that she could to help. He couldn't blame her in the slightest. He cleared his throat, “Alana.” He said gently and the girl dropped the book,

DADDY!” She cried and ran to hug him, “I's missed yous soo much! Where Mummy?”

She's resting for now.” Caleb said with a gentle smile,

Daddy can I bees a flying tac-tic-shon?” Alana asked with a smile,

Tactician,” Caleb pronounced the word for her slowly so that she would understand,

Tactician.” Alana repeated the word, “Can I pwease Daddy?” Alana asked. Caleb smiled at his little girl,

I don't know...” He said thoughtfully, “You would need to be willing to train very hard.” Caleb said as his daughter gave him the most pleading look she could muster. Caleb smiled and ruffled her hair gently, “And we'd have to ask Mummy.” He said not wanting to make the choice to allow Alana to and Lucina not approve of said choice. Alana pouted and he couldn't help but smile at its cuteness. “So then why don't we go and ask Mummy?” Caleb suggested and Alana suddenly smiled,

Yay!” Alana cheered, “Let's go Daddy!” she said eagerly grabbing Caleb's hand and practically pulling him towards his tent where Lucina was. On the way they ran into Chrom who was surprised to see Alana so happy,

Hello Alana,” Chrom said calmly, “You're certainly excited.”

Daddy says we need to ask Mummy if I can be a flying tactician!” Alana told him,

Really?” Chrom said looking at Caleb with a raised eyebrow. Caleb shrugged and Chrom saw Alana beam at him,

Yup!” The little girl said with a smile. “I wanna bees likes Daddy and Mummy!”

Oh I see.” Chrom chuckled, “Well then good luck Alana.” Chrom said to his granddaughter.

Thank yous!” Alana said happily as she raced off pulling Caleb along with her.


You want to be a flying tactician?” Lucina asked her daughter when Alana arrived to her parents' tent,

Pwease Mummy, I is asks Daddy and he says I has to asks yous.” Alana said and Caleb gave Lucina a 'please help me' look. Lucina looked thoughtful and Caleb sighed inwardly. Truthfully he didn't see anything wrong with letting the little one ride a pegasus, but he knew that he and Lucina were bound to worry about the child. Even so they knew that the time would come where eventually Alana would have to become independent of them. Lucina sighed,

As long as you listen to both your father and I,” Lucina finally agreed, “Then I see no harm in it.”

Alana looked like a child that had Naga's Day come early. She squealed in excitement and hugged both her parents. Caleb found himself feeling odd. He realised that his little girl was growing up.

Edited by TheSilentChloey

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Chapter XXV: The Price of Love

With Alana heading off with Lucina to speak with Sumia about a pegasus for her to ride Caleb was on his way to see Chrom. He had to relay the information to Chrom as quickly as possible that he got from the Valmese scout. He had the scouts for the Shepherds working as quickly as they could to spread the rumour the the Shepherds were everywhere in Valm. He also had to work around their travelling schedule. That and his mother had a very special task ahead of her...


You want me to what?!” Robin had said shocked at her son's plan.

We know for a fact that we're going to need to do something about the sheer numbers of the Valmese Mother.” Caleb retorted, “They're not going away any time soon.”

So you want to trick them into thinking you're moving the injured?” Robin said surprised,

We all know I already planned to have the wounded flown out back to Port right?” He explained, “Those that were seriously wounded at least.”

So then all that was left were the ones that could move but not fight...” Robin said realising what her son was saying,

Precisely Mother.” Caleb said calmly. “I thought it might throw the Valmese off our plans. Though it has been helped by a few of our men playing the part of scouts for the Valmese and feeding them false information about where we are.”

So that's why you had Anna call all of her sisters into Valm!” Robin gasped as she finally got to the meat of what Caleb had been planning, “You cunning little...” Robin swore in Plegian and Caleb grinned,

Oh but that's not all. You know of Excellus right?” Caleb said with a grin,

Oh gods Caleb what have you done?!” Robin groaned,

Don't worry Mother. I know he's the Grimleal plant to stop the Valmese...at least he was in my time. So I had a few spies planted under the false duty of feeding him information.”

How much subterfuge are you planning on using Caleb?”

Just enough to make them think we're everywhere.” Caleb said absently, “With all of the misinformation that they're getting they'll find themselves in quite a pickly situation right about now.”

So then once you get the last of the wounded moved?” Robin asked, “Then what?”

The plan is to go to Demon's Ingle and use the flames there as barriers to force Yen'fey's hand to attack us on my terms. He won't be able to get near enough to harm the Shepherds and once he's defeated word will spread even more rapidly since that will have been two major commanders that Walhart has lost. Hopefully it will force his hand and if he does come for us, then I can have a good amount of fun taking him out. Most importantly of all however will be that he won't be able to do all that much once we slip into hiding again.”

So you're planning hit and run?”

Hit, run and strike at times when Walhart can't afford to be hit. And night ops are going to be the thing that tips the balance in our favour.”

Won't there be a risk of our own troops getting...?”

Possible but...” Caleb held out a tome to his mother and she frowned, “Anna gave me a really special tome.”

What does it do Caleb?” She asked her son,

It allows the user to see at night. If I can convince Anna to get a few more of these and keep it to the mages we can trust...”

Caleb that is cruel.” Robin said immediately,

The enemy won't know what has hit them until they get hit. All I need do is a blast of Thoron and they're dead.” Caleb informed her. “Especially if I go for their heart or head. It's not ideal but it could sway the tide to our favour.”

Is that how...?” Robin couldn't bring herself to ask if that was how Caleb dealt with the man that almost killed her. He sighed,

One shot to the chest was all it took and he didn't even realise he was dead.” Caleb said quietly, “I didn't like having to do it...it felt...awful. But if that's what it takes...then I'll do it again and again.” Caleb said softly and Robin felt awful for her son. Though she realised that he'd figured out much more than she ever could. She certainly would not have thought to aim at someone's chest or head with thunder magic. It was a sickening thought...


“How much further do we need to go Miss Robin?” The soldier asked her,

“We're almost where we need to be.” Robin informed him. She grimaced and hopped that her act was bought over back at the Shepherds' camp. She was loathe to leave Caleb's side but she trusted her son's thinking. She had to trust him and in reality she knew that her act was going to annoy Chrom once he'd found out. Oh well at least she'd get fifty gold out of it. She smirked. Chrom would be mad at first but he'd get over it. She turned to face the soldiers that were with her, “Alright everyone get your tomes ready. We're going to make a hit and retreat. Then we'll used our second strike to cause more panic. Remember we're only here to scare the Valmese soldiers not kill anyone without provocation.”

“Yes Miss Robin.” The soldiers replied. She gripped her Thoron tome. It was going to be a lot of fun she thought grimly. Not even Grima could have cooked up something like this.


The figure laughed with glee as he pummelled the limp body of a near dead rebel with Thoron. Blood splattered all over his hand and he drunk it like one would drink alcohol. “Heh, heh, heh, ha, ha, ha!” He laughed. Then he felt the flush as the body struggled against him, “Yes...keep struggling fool! I want you to suffer! Suffer in despair!


He laughed again and drunk deeply from the goblet that had been filled to the brim with blood. He tilted his head back with ecstasy and howled with yet more laughter. He gave a grin and polished off the goblet and then he sighed as the last of the body's life faded away. It was always the same. He grit his teeth in frustration. He'd not wanted the fool to die just yet! He still had yet to have his fill! Angrily he stepped clear of the now dead body.


He glanced about the room and snapped his fingers as attendants came to clean up the mess. He then moved to the chambers where he spent most of his time. His favourite puppet was waiting for him on the bed. He felt the anger subside as he came to nestle beside her. He did not need her for sex right now. He was taking advantage of the warmth that she provided. Well that and he wanted to rest for the time being.


Damn stupid human bodies and their need to sleep. He would have fun with her tomorrow and if he was disturbed again...he'd make sure that there was hell to pay for whoever was stupid enough to do so. With a wicked grin he felt the need to mark her again. Teeth sunk into her flesh but not enough to draw blood. The bite would bruise though and his mark would be clear to be seen. He settled once he marked her.


Calmer now than what he'd been in a while. The little cleric was off in the corner for now. Besides he felt more comfortable with the puppet that lay beside him right now. Her scent was sweet, her skin soft and strewn with his marks all over her body. He did not love her per say but she was the one he seemed to find made his body physically react the most to. It had to be his host's doing and not his.


He drew in her scent and felt the soft stirring of sexual hunger. Maybe he should ease it now. Though he wasn't really in the mood. With a sigh he nestled as close to her as their bodies would allow. She had not smelt as sweet as she had that time that he'd made the fruit. He frowned. Perhaps there was a reason for that...he sniffed her again and made another definite mark. A soundless gasp caught his attention and he felt her shift to face him. She was naked as the day she was born and he grinned, “Tempting me are we?” He asked with a wide grin. Of course he was starting to feel a little more willing. He didn't want to miss the chance. He felt her hands wander. It had been a long time since she'd moved on her own like this. Eventually they encased his length and he let out a low moan of delight. To the hells with it. He'd take her now.


Caleb groaned as the pain of his head wasn't going away. This wasn't how he intended to spend his night. In front of him was an entire map of Valm and he was trying to work out what the plan was that would take a Yen'fey. They were three days out from the volcano. Yen'fey was hot on their tails (Caleb just knew he was) and they had to make it there so that only one army could reach them. He groaned again. “Caleb is everything alright?” Lucina's voice soothed the pain away,

Lucy...” Caleb sighed and lent into her arms much to her surprise. He was pressed into her stomach and right now he needed to hold her. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and Caleb let out a low sigh. He could hear the gradual movement of air as Lucina breathed though it wasn't as clear, “Am I a terrible person?” He asked her weakly,

Caleb?” Her concern made him let go as she suddenly sat in his lap and made him look into her blue eyes,

Lucy, am I...MMMPH!” He gasped in shock as her lips met his. He felt his eyes close and his body relax. He felt his hands snake down her to her hips and the fire. Right now he could think of little else than being with her like this,

Caleb,” She replied when they finally parted for air, “You are not a bad person. You're doing what you can to save everyone and that is not an easy task.” She lent to kiss him again and he let out a low sigh of relief,

Can you...” Caleb asked as they pulled apart for a second time, “Can you keep reminding me Lucy?” He pleaded with her, “Because I fear that I have a tenancy to forget...” She kissed him again and as they broke apart he added, “Also I want to have all the best kisses.” He said kissing her again. Lucina smiled,

I think that can be arranged.” She said playfully and their kisses started to get an edge to them. Caleb contentedly slipped his hands underneath Lucina's tunic as hers began to slip underneath his clothing. They would have gone further if not for the sound of clinking armour,

One pebble, two pebble.” Frederick's voice bought the couple back into reality and Caleb gave Lucina a look that said, 'our tent?' and she nodded quickly pulling Caleb after her. He let out a low groan of discomfort as he felt his length throbbing just a bit. He was however more than fine to put up with it for the time being as he knew that if they went back to their tent he would get it taken care of. Frederick blinked in surprise, “Hello Caleb, Princess Lucina.”

Can't stay and chat,” Lucina quickly pulling Caleb past the knight as quickly as he could move meant that he had to call it out rather louder than he intended. Frederick glanced at the young couple in confusion but Caleb didn't really have much time to explain what was going on. He was distracted as Lucina tugged him even more closely to her. “Lucy!” Caleb called out surprised as she got them to their tent in record time, pulled the flap out of the way and had him inside in less than a few seconds. He was slightly gasping for air but then her lips sort his and he felt the heat in his groin grow even more. He allowed instinct to take over and his hands reached to pull her closer to him. She let out a little giggle and they kept kissing. He ignored the raw fire for as long as he could but he knew that eventually he would be a mess. Right now however he didn't want to think about it. Right now he was distracted by how cute and utterly beautiful his wife was.


Caleb's hands continued what they were doing back in the strategy tent. He heard Lucina let out a low gasp as he reached where he wanted to. He kissed her and felt her hands easily sip into his clothing. A low moan escaped the young tactician, “I really don't like how clothing gets in the way of this.” Lucina muttered as she kept her ministrations as pleasing as possible,

I'm inclined to agree with you.” Caleb said as he worked on removing said clothing. Lucina was quick to realise what he meant. He was surprised when she started to make her clothing fall like him. It wasn't long before the pair were in little more than their small clothes and Caleb would have rocked back if not for Lucina pulling him over her. He let out a low groan as they kissed. He was slightly annoyed that she was opting to be under him again, but then he had a thought. What if she'd really enjoyed it last time? He went to speak when she kissed him. He moaned and found himself wondering when they were going to rid themselves of their small clothes as his length throbbed. He moved to tease her as much as she was teasing him and Lucina let out a gasp,

Caleb!” She moaned and kissed him a little roughly, not that Caleb minded. He was too busy trying to keep his wits about himself. He was vaguely aware of his small clothes being removed and Lucina's falling to the ground with them.


Lucina had to admit Caleb was pretty eager to bed her, though she had felt him harden earlier under her touch she was still surprised at how quickly he responded to her ministrations. His kisses were hot and once their small clothes were out of the way he wasted no time in gently pressing against her entrance with his length. She felt her breathing hitch as he gradually slid into her deeper and deeper with each movement of his hips.


He was being extra slow she noticed. He pressed a kiss on her collarbone and she moaned in delight as he finally slid into her fully. The heat she felt was most certainly robbing her senses as doubtless it robbed her lover of them. She tried to keep herself as quiet as possible as they'd not wanted half of the camp to know what was going on. She clutched at the pallet on which they were having their tryst.


Only when he was fully inside her did he begin to make her feel the euphoria that she had come to hunger for whenever they made love to one another. She gasped as Caleb nipped her neck and returned the favour. He moaned and she saw his eyes gleam over with lust. She kissed him fiercely and his thrusts soon began to get progressively deeper and faster. Her moans picked up in volume even though she was trying to be as quiet as possible. Caleb kissed her and it did help keep their moaning quiet. It was one of those times where Lucina had to keep reminding herself that they needed to be quiet.


She almost couldn't contain the deep moan that came from them both finally reaching their climax. Caleb's breath was little more than pants and soft gasps for air while Lucina could feel her legs shaking uncontrollably. “You...alright...Lucy...” Caleb managed to gasp out holding her in his arms. They had not been this...rough before. Though to be fair they hadn't really explored that much to know what they felt comfortable with. Lucina placed her head into Caleb's chest and they stayed like that tucked into the pallet with blankets over them thanks to Caleb's tomeless wind magic.


Alright then what's the next thing we need to do?” Chrom asked Caleb as the Shepherds continued their march towards Demon's Ingle. Caleb was riding with Lucina sat up behind him. She was tired after their tryst which had Caleb slightly worried that he'd been too rough with her. Still she assured him that she was fine so he'd dropped the subject. Now though Chrom had the young tactician's attention,

Once we get to Demon's Ingle we'll need to be prepared to fight outright.” Caleb said, “Yen'fey can't be too far behind us even if the scouts give us a lead of five days.” Caleb sighed as Lucina's grip tightened around his waist. “The best we can do right now is get as much of a lead as we possibly can. Though I have a feeling that we might have to make a move much sooner...”

Caleb,” Lucina muttered softly, “Can we take a breather soon?” Her voice sounded strained and Caleb immediately pulled the horse to a stop. Chrom frowned and reigned his mount in near the young couple,

Lucy? Are you feeling alright?” Caleb asked worried now. She lent into his back and gripped his waist even tighter, “Lucy?” Caleb asked gently

I-I'll be fine.” Lucina said but it did little to reassure Caleb. This wasn't like her at all. He looked over the Shepherds and spotted several sets of eyes on him,

Fine, we'll ride for another half hour.” Caleb decided, “Then we're stopping for a breather.” He said at last,

Fair enough.” Chrom said as he and Caleb nudged their horses' sides to set off again, “Are you sure that you're alright Lucina?” Chrom asked his daughter,

I'll be fine father.” Lucina said pressing her head into Caleb's back again. She closed her eyes and Caleb got the sense that something just wasn't right.


Half an hour of riding later and Caleb decided to step aside with just him, Lucina and Brady. He'd spoken to the young War Monk about discretely checking to make sure that Lucina was alright. Brady had complied and as he held the staff over his sister he frowned, “Brady how is she?” Caleb asked anxiously, “Will she be alright?” Brady looked seriously at his sister,

Did ya eat that stuff what Sully made this mornin'?” He asked and Lucina winced guiltily,

I...might have had a couple of bites.” She admitted,

Well tha' was foolish.” Brady said with a roll of his eyes, “We know better tha' to do tha'.”

I was actually feeling rather hungry...” Lucina said in a small voice “and there wasn't much in the mess hall so...”

Well thankfully it won't last long.” Caleb said relieved but still worried about her, “We'll just have to take it easy. Thanks Brady.”

Any time.” The healer said with a grin, then he looked serious, “Besides I've gotta keep an extra eye on Sev anyway. She's been getting' pretty touchy abou' her weight at th' moment.”

I don't doubt it.” Caleb said thinking about just how round Severa's stomach had become in the last two months. He knew that it had to do with the fact that she was having a baby. Still he knew that she had to be getting close. He assumed that she was about three or so months when she and Owain had told him and Lucina. It was still difficult to tell however how far along she was. He just assumed that she didn't have long to go before the baby was born. He looked to Brady, “She hasn't got long to go does she?” He asked and Brady replied,

My guess is she'll have th' baby pretty soon. She woulda been abou' six months when she told ya.”

Six months?!” Caleb gasped in shock,

Yeah turns out tha' sea-sickness she was havin' was her goin' through mornin' sickness instead.”

Well now that complicates things.” Caleb spoke quietly and he looked at Lucina. She frowned as she tried to figure out what he was getting at.

Wait...do you mean that...Sev was expecting before they left Regna Ferox?” Lucina said shocked, “But she'd only just...”

Yes fun and games of course.” Caleb said with a sigh. “Now all we need is to watch the world go crazy again.”

Edited by TheSilentChloey

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