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In Time's Flow

by FE3H.FM

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Sothis expects oblivion. There has only ever been one goddess, one being who cloaked divine power in a living form, and why wouldn’t she expect crushing nonexistence? She hungers and tires as the humans do. She bleeds and breathes, cries and sleeps; she ought to die. Separated from herself, bone and blood and heart reforged as weapons, she ought to die. She doesn’t expect the distant remembrance of living, the crude quelling of memory, certainly not her fading sense of the world’s dispersing power wafting through her deep and unrealizing dreams like apples plucked from their branches by early ice and left rotting in neat rows. It’s such a small, tidy thing to encapsulate the decay of death, unassuming, unexceptional, unremarkable. With each further hint of rot she drifts closer to eternity, but her entombed heart tethers her just beyond its reach. Alone, in the space between now and forever, Sothis drifts.
Their father told them that they wouldn’t be staying at the monastery for long. That is the mercenary life—one moment you’re here, and the next you’re gone. Nothing left behind, save for the little crumbs of food from your last meal speckled on the table; the only evidence that you were there in the first place. The monastery is nothing like Byleth has ever seen before. The sandstone walls look worn and chipped, but the buildings are well-kept and preserved. The air is clean, fresh mountain-top winds mixed with the subtle scent of morning dew tickling their nose—and each breath feels like a gulp of water on a hot, sunny day. There is something about the aura of this place; inviting and welcoming. Clean as a whistle, as if the tall, iron gates to the cathedral were doors to heaven itself. Against their better judgement, Byleth feels themselves adjusting, changing and molding to fit into their new home. On their first day off, Seteth encourages them to move around and stretch their limbs. The archbishop’s advisor chastises them for only ever leaving their room for classes. He tells them to explore further, instead of simply venturing out of their usual path towards the dining hall when the monastery bells toll at the sun’s lowest. And so Byleth heads out, deciding to find what Garreg Mach has to offer.
The snow crackles. It’s how the rain hits it, breaking through to the mountain beneath or splattering on the sheet of ice growing thicker on the snow’s surface with each drop. Walking through the snow is heavy work—breaking through the ice, sinking into the wet snow underneath. At least his boots were just treated with wax to keep out the water. A bird’s song echoes out thinly somewhere up ahead. It sounds like a Gautier thrush. He has to get shelter. That is one of the first things he remembers learning. "You shouldn’t ever get lost in the wild," his father had said, taking him out to the woods with nothing but warm clothing, flint, and a steel knife. "But, if it happens, you will have to know how to find shelter and make flame." That time was different. His father says he loves him. Sylvain is small, so it’s easier for him to pick his way through the low bushes and scraggly trees. That’s what Miklan says. And Miklan says that because Sylvain has a Crest, he’s supposed to heal faster, so it’s fine if he falls or gets hit by thorny branches and the needles on trees. Sylvain is so much better than Miklan. He’s a Crest-bearer. He can make his way back on his own, right?
“Capital! What a capital first act!” Ferdinand said, as the house lights came on. Below, the audience began adjourning to the lobby for refreshments. “It seems after all the years of teasing, Dorothea has not disappointed,” Hubert said. “She certainly hasn’t,” Edelgard said, fanning herself. “But I’m hardly surprised. Back at the Officer’s Academy she began composing lyrics right in front of me.” She pursed her lips. “It was very embarrassing.” “Lyrics to which song?” Ferdinand asked. “I don’t know. The melody was most similar to the overture. But they haven’t sung those words yet.” “Then we will have even more to look forward to in Act Two,” Ferdinand said, rising from his seat. He offered Edelgard a short bow. “If you’ll excuse me, I saw the Minister of the Interior was here, and I’d like a word with him.” “You work too hard,” Edelgard said. Ferdinand laughed. “You would know overworking when you see it, Your Majesty,” he said. “I’ll be but a moment.” He stepped out, letting the drape at the entrance to the box fall closed behind him. Edelgard glanced at Hubert. “Don’t say anything.” “What need is there when he’s done that already?” After a pause, he added, “Are you alright?” Edelgard sighed and opened her clenched fist to reveal one of Hubert’s plain handkerchiefs, crumpled into a ball. She closed her fan and folded the handkerchief into a square. “I’m fine now. Thank you. I just hope nobody else saw.”
Hubert makes a habit of identifying the source of every noise he hears. As a man who lives in the shadows, he knows the dangers they can hold. New footsteps enter the library and he glances up from his book. He expects the cause to be another student. Instead, it’s a nun. Keeping her in his peripheral vision, he returns to reading the compilation of letters from old Empire leaders. When she heads towards him, Hubert looks up once more. He’s seated far from the others in the library. There’s no doubt who the nun is there to see. The question, of course, is why. Every conversation has higher stakes now, with how close he and Edelgard are to making their final break. “Edelgard said I’d find you here,” the stranger says. He takes in her unassuming appearance. The wavy brown hair, the short stature. Either she poses no threat or she’s been sent by someone who wants her to seem harmless. Time to proceed cautiously—not that he knows any other way. “She was correct, as you can see. What is it you want?”
Yuri Leclerc is a tightrope walker. Every step, every breath, every twitch of a muscle—none of it goes unchecked, none of it unplanned, lest he risk even a moment’s break in concentration. It’s a delicate balance, a razor-thin line between being too distant and not being distant enough, and he can never, ever lose control. His logic is this: if he opens up too much, he’s sure he’ll scare his allies away, and besides, it does no good for someone whose role involves lies and manipulation to wear his heart on his sleeve. On the other hand, if he closes himself off completely, how can he expect the Abyssians to trust him to keep them safe? He has to give them something, just enough to show that he’s on their side, that everything he does is for them—but no more than that. Never any more than that. Sometimes, on good days, days when there hasn’t been any conflict to speak of, when it’s safe to say that everyone has been fed, Yuri considers giving up the act, just a little. He’s been leading Abyss for a while. His people know by now that he’s a scoundrel, but they also know that they’re safe with him. Sometimes, he lets his mask slip, if only slightly, barely enough for anyone to notice unless they’re looking closely enough. And they never are anyway.
Byleth, as always, infuses slow-dripped feelings into Ashe’s chest; now, as Rhea trades their circlet for her own, heavy crown, they inspire nothing but pure, unadulterated awe. Gold speckles the altar and the faces around them as they adjust it, turn their head both ways, their shoulders barely sagging under the weight -- just enough for Ashe to notice. He’s always prided himself on his attention to detail. Their eyes open, green like the shallowest parts of the Garreg Mach pond, green like Rhea’s hair, green like tampered, tamed greed: they betray no emotion that Ashe is familiar with, a sentencing scythe poised to sever anything they consider unfair. Catherine stands next to Rhea, her ever-loyal knight, a knight he’d once sworn to become for their own King; now that his promise has been held, now that his oath has been sealed with the dull edge of a sword over his shoulder, he feels a certain kind of connivence with the person he’d once hated, Ashe muses. He can almost feel the brand of the Knights of Seiros into his chest, with how close his King is to their former Professor. Dimitri, who looks more peaceful than he’s looked in years, swashes of under-eye charcoal swept away by tears and a gentle hand, wound-like lines soothed back into skin, the once-muted gold of his hair now as radiant as his crown, as brilliant as his smile. Ashe cannot remember having ever met anyone so unabashedly good: he trusts the kindness in his eye, the grace of his motions, the strength of his back -- but there’s a voice at the back of his mind, familiar and long-lost, asking him if he, too, would one day execute someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s father, because Byleth said it was Law and Dimitri enforced it.
Claude can just barely figure out which troops are from the Kingdom and which are from the Empire, even up close, but if there’s one person who stands out among them all, it’s Dimitri. If he didn’t know any better, Claude would wonder how the merciless prince who stands in front of him today could possibly be the same polite young man he knew in the Academy—but Claude does know better. Even back then, he could sense the darkness swimming just beneath the surface of that kind smile. It hurts to see him like this, killing indiscriminately, teeth bared like a wolf, but Claude would be lying if he said he was completely taken aback by it. And then, of course, on the other side of the field, there’s Edelgard, Emperor of Adrestia, harbinger of both destruction and rebirth. She stands firm, cutting down any who manage to reach her, and the blood blends in with her bright red Empire regalia. She always was distant, a book not just closed, but bound and sealed so that to see her true feelings without her permission would be to pry them out of her. Every move she makes is deliberate, and she fights with steel resolve. Still, Claude can tell that she takes no pleasure in this. She does it because she feels it’s what she has to do, the only thing she can do to achieve her goals, and if nothing else, at least he can understand that. As for Claude...well, sometimes he can’t help but feel like he’s caught in the middle, just like he always has been, always too much of one thing and not enough of another. Deep down—far, far down—part of him still feels like a scrappy, confused little boy, changing his plans based on the environment around him, constantly searching for the best way to adapt, to ensure his survival amidst the chaos. Now, though, it’s not just his own life that he feels the need to preserve.
Breathing is a subconscious thing. At rest one is hardly aware of it. Upon waking in the morning, no one remembers if it is on an inhale or exhale, chest rising or falling in that very moment. It is only when at risk; a gasp or a catch, stutter or rasp, that the consciousness takes note. There's little of Fódlan left untouched, after the war, but life goes on; soaks in the peace and breathes easier. When the war ends, the world exhales. Byleth wakes to the early glow of sunlight flaring through the window. She usually robs herself of any chance of sleeping in, leaving the curtains partially open, but it was always good to let moonlight into a shadowy room. To allow the eyes to adjust to the dark rapidly if needed. Old habits die hard.
Felix Hugo Fraldarius knows he will die here in Arianrhod as surely as he has known anything else in his all too brief life. King, country, chivalry, and glory… all pale before the certainty of this fight to defend the Silver Maiden. He knows what he’s been brought here to achieve, and it’s not victory. No, what makes him the best choice to die here at the border is exactly the quality he cultivated to avoid the doomed fate of his brother, one he will soon share. Strength. With the lightning quick precision only the truly dedicated can achieve, Crest or no Crest, and his single minded ferocity, Felix is meant to carve a bloody hole in the offensive power of the Adrestian Empire. He is less a person than a battering ram; is this what he wanted? Perhaps six years ago, his answer would have been yes. Regardless of what he wants, though, he will die here, and it will not have been worth it in the slightest.
He wakes to darkness and pain. After his time in the dungeon, Dimitri expects the darkness. The dimness of his cell is gone, replaced with the shadows of a day laborer’s windowless hovel. The pain is new, tearing through his body to spike through his right eye--all that remains of it, at least. Dimitri lets his eyelid fall shut and inhales. Animal musk, wet earth, straw, and the stink of feces hover under the crisp air. He focuses on the scents. Underneath him is a thin straw mattress covered in rags. When he’s reined in the pain, Dimitri rolls to his side and takes assessment. The shackles rubbed his wrists and ankles raw. His ribs and right shoulder are bruised. Dried blood from the gash on his knee and shin has plastered his trousers to his skin. His right eye is ruined. He’s taken quite the beating, as Glenn would’ve said. A flash of light illuminates the interior of the hovel. Dimitri turns his neck to see a lean, dark-haired figure standing near the entrance, rimmed in waning sunlight. His eye waters and he blinks the tears away. “Up, are you?” The figure steps forward and crouches beside him. He’s a thin-faced Duscur man dressed in worn, ragged clothes. “And not a moment too soon. We’ll be ready to move you after sunset.” “Any-” He starts coughing and the man hurries away to ladle some water from a bucket into a clay cup. The water is a little gritty, and tastes like it’s been standing still all day; but it’s cold and Dimitri’s suddenly so thirsty, it could be blood and he wouldn’t care. His voice is only a little raspy when he tries to speak again. “Any word of Dedue?” The man’s grim, thin face becomes bleaker, his lips drawing down from a horizontal line to a frown. He shakes his head. “Nothing. And we can’t wait any longer. If the soldiers come looking for you here, they’ll kill us all.”
There is a spire at the heart of Fhirdiad. Looking up at it now, it is like nothing that Dedue could have imagined. It is taller than any structure he has ever seen—a pillar with four faces, cut from dark stone, flecks of color shifting subtly in its surface. It is a solemn and severe thing, jammed into the city’s beating heart. It wants to be known. It demands to be felt. “Rodrigue,” Dimitri says, quiet. “Rodrigue, it’s—beautiful.” In front of them, at the monument’s base, Duke Fraldarius kneels. There is snow settling in the waves of his hair. In his hands, there is a bouquet of pale lilies, bladed gladioli; in his eyes, the look of a man who has aged a thousand years overnight. “I am glad to hear you say so, Your Highness,” he answers. Dedue watches, and says nothing. It is not his place, after all. Instead, he stands very still, and cranes his neck to gaze up at the tower once more.
Of course, bright things cast long shadows. Knightly Fhirdiad is no exception. Excess peasants, getting by on the scraps of their betters as they wait to be used; corrupt soldiers, eager for power at any cost; even a district filled with those who survived a most terrible tragedy—a tragedy whose architects live behind the very same walls, no less. But it wouldn’t be very chivalric to comment on that. And there have been times the shadows were too much for Fhirdiad to bear. Once, there was a terrible plague that ran through the whole country. It was at its most cruel in this city, ravaging its population and taking the life of the Queen herself. And how the country grieved for her, how desperately they cried out for salvation. They were so desperate that a foreign holy woman promising their deliverance was welcomed into their arms without question. The holy woman kept her promise, and the king heeded her advice. Fhirdiad was saved. But you were too young to remember that.
One, two, three steps forward, and Dorothea disappears into the Dancer. It isn’t a compliment; it’s a conclusion, one the whole army came to, one that became a moniker, less from that time she won the White Heron Cup, lifetimes ago, than from the way she moves across the battlefield like it’s a stage -- so frighteningly familiar she wishes it wasn’t. One, two, three coups of thunder fly from her fingers and clatter into the enemy ranks, her spell a brigadier calling for attention, and the battalions barrel forward with a bellow, her feet beating in time with her heart on the already bloody ground. Her sword sings through the space between the first enemy and her, strikes at the wind and a body part, one step and a dodge, two steps and a blow, three steps and a kill, red on red on her dress. Her audience cheers.
For a saint with the burden of leadership to bear, what is the point of a grief that does not mobilize? Seiros desperately wishes she knew the answer. Her vengeance sealed, her mother’s heart returned, and what does she have to show for it? Nothing but a few more scars and a pain that knows no end, jagged and rough against all that had formerly been unblemished. At least that bastard Nemesis is dead. These foolish Agarthans, who sought to control a force they did not deserve; there is nothing that remains of their failure but stinking corpses and jagged scars. Blood carves new wounds into the rock faces of Zanado, just as the acrid scent of burning flesh claws its way into the nose of any unfortunate enough to be near the remainders of the carnage. Is Seiros sorry that it’s come to this? Maybe one day she’ll regret this path. For now, though, with the phantom sensation of Nemesis’s blood still beneath her fingernails, she burns quietly. Her fury is dampened by the heavy rain of her tears, but despite this, it refuses to be extinguished. What had they hoped for when they ripped a goddess from her place in the heavens, when they tore her from her children? A better life? Well, she has made sure that such a thing isn’t coming to them.
It’s a trip she’s made many times, but Marianne can’t remember her footsteps ever feeling so light as she walks to the courtyard of Garreg Mach. Her boots soon leave the stone floor for grass, where some flowers and weeds still stick up from the ground. With the benches and trees left mostly untouched by the war, it’s almost as if she’s stepped back in time. Her adoptive father, proud of her accomplishments during the war, wants her to return home. Without any other ideas, she agrees. The route takes her past the monastery, and she’d felt compelled to stop. There’s no rush in returning to her town, and Garreg Mach holds the best memories of her life. She can’t turn down the chance to reminisce a little, something she is still learning to do. What could she reminisce about before arriving at the Academy? All she knew was fear and guilt and self-hatred. But now she remembers her classmates challenging her to grow, looking out for her, accepting her before she had even accepted herself. If not for this place, she never would have found the truth about the curse of her crest—the fact that it isn’t cursed at all. A shiver goes through Marianne at the thought of who she could have been.
The bustling courtyard had assembled itself into orderly formation by the time the two reached the ground floor. Lord Zahras kneeled at its heart, dark feathered cloak flowing over his shoulders. Periander slipped silently into place, Anacharsis at his side. For several long moments, Agartha held its breath. Then, all at once, darkness fell over the citadel⁠—a shadow to blot out the sun, and the Fell Star descended upon Muziris. Periander had seen it once before, from a distance, but heard many more stories. It appeared before them in its true, monstrous form—not the vaguely human approximation it had deceivingly worn in day’s past. Its pale, feathered visage seemed almost in mockery of the Gods, yet other features betrayed its true nature. Six verdant eyes roved across the assembled soldiers as a man might gaze upon an ant, while its maw hung open just so—enough to see the countless vicious fangs lurking within. The Fell Star bore its moniker for a reason. Its nature was that of extinction.
She was a child of the Goddess once. She lived where sand and dust settled perpetually upon tall pillars of stone, where there was always a fine sheen to the steps of grand buildings, where all the elegant architecture was carved right into the heart of the valley. Mother—Mother was at the true heart of it all, wise and regal, clever and playful, always able to tease Rhea out of her most solemn moods. There was never a lonely moment in such a place. Surrounded by her siblings, all born from the same gift of precious blood, she was part of a wondrous civilization. A civilization that sought to share its bounties, along with Mother’s infinite wisdom, with the many seekers of their knowledge. The humans. Humanity. Mother loved them. Found them strange and interesting creatures, perhaps, but loved them and believed in them. Mother was so benevolent and kind. Mother—didn’t have flaws. But Rhea knows the truth now. Humans are so fragile, brutal, easily corrupted when not guided by those wiser and more measured than them. They fight so easily, start conflicts and wars and burn their own homes to the ground. Burn the homes of others to the ground, massacre each and every innocent soul for their own selfish gains— How happy they were, back then.
You are Edelgard von Hresvelg, a student at the Officer’s Academy. You’re sitting on the edge of your bed in your dormitory. Hubert is leaning over you, dressing a nick on your back you couldn’t reach—courtesy of a bandit at Zanado. It’s not that you have an issue with faith magic, but… Well. Hubert is the only one who’s seen your scars, and perhaps he always will be. “What do you make of the professor?” Hubert says, breaking the silence. You frown, mind distant from the twinges of pain. “Professor Byleth may not be particularly… worldly, but there is a capable mind behind that blade. A valuable one.” Hubert hums in satisfaction after a moment and releases you. “Not all paths will align with ours.” “I am aware,” you sigh, pulling your uniform over your head. “Nonetheless, if the opportunity presents itself-” Three knocks ring at your door in quick succession. “Edie! Some new shipments just arrived at the market. Petra, Bern, and I are heading down, you should join us!” Your mouth opens quickly—there are other matters you have yet to discuss with Hubert tonight. Darker matters than the allegiance of someone you’ve only known for a month. But he looks to you and shakes his head, speaking in a low tone. “There will be time.” Y You smile, despite yourself. “I’ll be out in a moment, Dorothea.” You are Edelgard von Hresvelg, a student at the Officer’s Academy. For now.


FE3H.FM is proud to present In Time's Flow, a community fan album for Fire Emblem: Three Houses!

Please note: this album is free to download, and there is a liner note booklet (in PDF format) available through that download. (It's also accessible at tinyurl.com/fe3hfm-itf. )

This booklet is important! There, you'll find the full versions of the fic excerpts listed under the lyrics tab of each track, as well as notes from many of the composers, and full-sized versions of the track artwork. If you like the music, we implore you to take some time to show our writers and artists some love, as well - it's simply not a complete experience without them.

All fics that have been posted by their authors can also be found under the FE3H.FM Ao3 collection at archiveofourown.org/collections/FE3HFM.

Thank you so much for your time and your support! We hope you enjoy the album.


released July 26, 2020

BOOKLET DESIGN, COVER ART: Michi (twitter.com/RequiemPluie)
MASTERING (except on tracks 14 and 19): Rachel Rose Mitchell (youtube.com/RachelRoseMitchellMusic)
MASTERING (tracks 14 and 19): chillydeer (twitter.com/imachillydeer)


Rachel Rose Mitchell (youtube.com/RachelRoseMitchellMusic)
IvyItsOk (ivyitsok.carrd.co)
Red (twitter.com/redamantian)
Felix Arifin (composerfa.com)
Jen Tonon (jentonon.bandcamp.com)
zebby (soundcloud.com/zebestian)
Yuuki Rafflesia (twitter.com/YuukiRafflesia)
Luci Holland (luciholland.com)
WingBerry (soundcloud.com/wingberry)
chillydeer (twitter.com/imachillydeer)
Jon Moody (monjoody.bandcamp.com)
Mark Choi (www.choiby.com)


chichorie (twitter.com/chichorie)
Catatune (twitter.com/Catatune)
yitsuin (twitter.com/yitsuin)
toast (twitter.com/oreocorio)
Fenni (twitter.com/scarletori)
dewream (dewream.carrd.co)
citrus (twitter.com/citrusorangeee)
Jennifer Crow (twitter.com/jennifercrowart)
schereas (twitter.com/schereas/)
vuric_ (twitter.com/vuric_)
Mooshmoom (twitter.com/mushroom8923)
kyousa (twitter.com/kyousa38)


Isa (twitter.com/thecaryatid)
blifuys (archiveofourown.org/users/blifuys)
mareza (archiveofourown.org/users/mareza/works)
WriterSine (twitter.com/writerspice)
Chilly (twitter.com/longestyeehaw)
Ash (twitter.com/lesbianryuko)
Cha (archiveofourown.org/users/akhikosanada/works)
QuillFeathers (twitter.com/o3QuillFeathers)
A. Kamil (twitter.com/kingblaiddyd)
Tyrux (twitter.com/ULiopleurodon)
Kay (archiveofourown.org/users/amorekay/pseuds/amorekay)


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