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Tangled Schemes

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This is the story of how I died…Twice. Not that I actually remember either time, to be honest. But don't worry, it's actually a great story and it's not entirely mine. This is a story about a woman: Byleth.

It all started with Sothis. Once upon a time, there was a powerful goddess who brought life to humans and the Earth. Sothis was just, strong, and had the ability to turn back time itself. But one day she was killed, and her daughter—Lady Rhea—built a crypt to house and protect her remains for all eternity.

Centuries passed, and a kingdom grew. It was ruled by a King and Queen as kingdoms usually are. But one day, the Queen got sick right before she was going to have a baby. Very sick. She got so sick in fact, people started to look for a miracle…Or on this case, a goddess.

Far away and deep underground in the Holy Tomb, Rhea had locked two remnants of Sothis away to keep their power from humans. The first was a small stone inscribed with the crest of the goddess herself, and the second was the goddess’s own sword—known as the Sword of the Creator. Rhea was away the day the kingdom’s guards took both, and I don’t have to tell you that she didn’t like that at all.

Unfortunately, the magic of the crest stone couldn’t save the Queen…But it did save her child. A healthy baby girl was born, with strange, beautiful green hair and solemn green eyes. If you want a hint, that was Byleth.

In celebration for his child and mourning for his wife, King Jeralt launched a flying lantern into the sky that was decorated with the crest taken from the crypt. It flew over the land, golden and bright, and for that one moment things were okay.

But then that moment ended.

Byleth looked nothing like either parent; her colouring was that of the long departed goddess. Not that anyone knew that but Rhea. And the flame of life that burned in the child made Rhea wonder if her dearest wish could be realized: that one day, Sothis would return. So she broke into the castle, stole Byleth, and just like that—she was gone.

The kingdom searched and searched, but they couldn’t find their princess.

Deep in the mountains, in an abandoned monastery, Rhea raised the child both as Sothis and as her own. Every day she would tell stories of the goddess, singing songs she’d known and trying to coax recognition from the child who had inherited so much. But Byleth would never respond to the tales; in fact, she barely responded at all. The power of the goddess stifled something within her, and she grew up quiet and uninterested in the world outside her monastery walls.

Except for one thing.

Every year on her birthday, the kingdom released thousands of lanterns into the sky, burning with the hope that one day their lost princess would return. And every year, Byleth watched them float by and wondered…