Box art - Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Fire Emblem Three Houses Fourth Route | How to unlock the alternate Black Eagles story

Fire Emblem Three Houses is out now for Nintendo Switch, and with the titular three different houses to play as, there’s a lot of content here for the budding Fire Emblem completionist. However, Nintendo may be even more generous, and things may be even better than expected, as there are rumors of a fourth house to play as—or at the very least, an alternate route to try. The Fire Emblem Three Houses fourth route is very real, so let’s have look at how to get it.

What is the Fire Emblem Three Houses fourth route?

As you may have guessed, either by playing the game or just by the game’s title Three Houses, there are three factions for you to decide to lead early on in the game, which continues throughout the length of the campaign. The game’s titular three houses are the Black Eagles, Blue Lions, or Golden Deer, and you get to choose which one you want to command near the beginning of Fire Emblem: Three Houses. It’s your first meaningful choice in a game full of choices.

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However, there is a secret alternate fourth route to go instead. However, it’s not specifically a fourth house, as it’s instead an alternate path for the Black Eagles campaign. The Black Eagles house is therefore unique in Fire Emblem Three Houses, as playing either the Blue Lions nor the Golden Deer houses will not get you the chance to change the story in a meaningful way. Now, let’s examine what steps you need to actually perform to unlock this secret fourth route for the game.

Where do you go to unlock the game’s fourth route?

Fire Emblem Three Houses Fourth Route location

The first and most vital part in trying to unlock the Fire Emblem Three Houses fourth route is in choosing the correct house at the beginning of the game, since it is an alternate path for just one of the three houses: the Black Eagles. The fourth route particularly revolves around the head of the house, the mysterious Edelgard. Choose that house, and continue playing through the latest Fire Emblem game as normal for now. However, at a certain point in the game’s story, you’ll be able to diverge from it and go down an alternate timeline, provided you’ve fulfilled certain conditions first. Let’s go through what you need to do.

How to unlock the alternate Edelgard and Black Eagles route

NOTE: SPOILERS FOR THE BLACK EAGLES STORYLINE! Once you’ve selected the Black Eagles house and started playing through the game, you actually have to get quite far through the story before you can unlock the fourth route in the game, but there is something important you need to do before you get there. The house’s head Edelgard plays strongly into the events of the alternate pathway, and you will have to have your social link with Edelgard raised to around ‘C’ rank before you can go on it, so talk to her as much as possible and agree with her on everything.

Next, you’ll have to wait until the end of Part One, or Chapter 12, and then the eighth day, which is a Sunday, of the second month Pegasus Moon. Keep an eye on the calendar, as if you miss the event on this day you won’t be able to access the fourth route. Once you have Rhea tell you that the mission for Pegasus Moon month is to enter the Holy Tomb with your students you’ll know you’re close.

Fire Emblem Three Houses Fourth Route date

At this point, you’ll need to explore the Garreg Mach Monastery in your free time as much as possible. Head to the Entrance Hall, either by walking or Fast Travel. You’ll need to find Edelgard here, she’s at the top of the big staircase on the right. Talk to her, and she’ll ask you to join her on a mission to Embarr, the capital of the Adrestian Empire, for a few days. Before you agree, you’ll get a pop-up message that reads “this decision will drastically change the story.”Accept it, and agree to go with Edelgard.

You’ll then travel to Embarr and, after a few cutscenes, will begin the battle titled, “Conflict in the Holy Tomb”. Here you’ll receive a number of shocking revelations, most notably that Edelgard is crowned Emperor and is actually the mysterious masked Flame Emperor. You’ll then have to face Edelgard in battle, where you’ll need to defeat her forces to continue. Then you’ll have a big choice ahead of you.

What is the choice that unlocks the fourth route?

Fire Emblem Three Houses Fourth Route choice

After you complete Conflict in the Holy Tomb and defeat Edelgard’s forces, Rhea will show up and demand that you kill Edelgard because she “is a danger to all of Fódlan”. You’ll then get a warning again about how your decision will drastically affect the story, along with two choices: kill Edelgard, or protect her.

Whatever choice you make here will set you off on a completely different path, but the “normal” route is protecting Edelgard, where you will work with her and the new Black Eagle Strike Force to unify all of Fódlan. The alternate and official fourth route, then, is to kill Edelgard as Rhea demands. You will side with Rhea and take command of the new army of the Church of Seiros. However, one of the dialogue options will allow Edelgard to still escape if you don’t want to actually execute her, although she will no longer be part of your army.

Can the fourth route be done first?

As the fourth route can be unlocked at any time, and doesn’t require you to play through the entirety of Fire Emblem: Three Houses first or anything, you can conceivably take this alternate route as your first time playing through the game if you so wish. We personally wouldn’t advise it, as it will seriously mess up your perception of the story, but then again, it’s totally up to you. That’s the beauty of a game with choice and consequences.

What do you lose or gain by choosing these different routes?

Fire Emblem Three Houses Fourth Route edelgard

It should be pointed out that there is disagreement about which of these options is actually the “proper” alternate route to the main story. Some say that the Church of Seiros story side is the correct one, others the Edelgard and Black Eagles story. The only way to decide, then, is to work out what you gain from each route and act accordingly.

If you choose to spare Edelgard and protect her, you will gain the Black Eagle Strike Force and Flayn will leave your party forever. You will side with the Empire under Edelgard from this point on, and will even get the opportunity to romance her (which is available with either a male or female character) to become the Empress’ wife or husband.

If you obeyed Rhea’s wishes and attempted to kill Edelgard, you will lose both Edelgard and Hubert from your party, but Ferdinand, Linhardt, Dorothea, Bernadetta, Caspar, and Petra will all stay with you. You will also gain access to the new army of the Church of Seiros, and their Knights of the Church. We’re hope you’re happy with your choice, because you’ll be stuck with it until the end of the Black Eagles campaign. Hope you make the right one.