This guide will contain some spoilers around the half-way point of the game.
It's no secret that Fire Emblem: Three Houses has a handful of distinct storylines depending on the House of students that you choose at the beginning of the game - the Black Eagles, Blue Lions, or Golden Deer. Indeed, it's very much the game's primary premise - you choose your alliance early on and how the events unfold from there will depend on which House you join.
However, depending on the house you choose, you might run into an additional choice to make that is not seen on other routes. We detail the ramifications of this decision after the jump below.
This guide will contain some mild mid-game spoilers in order to describe the game's route structure, but plot details will be kept to a minimum.
Check out our full Fire Emblem: Three Houses guide, which has information and tips from help for beginners to advanced battle strategy. Our Dialogue Guide goes through all the choices for Support in each of the game's routes.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses - How to choose to join Edelgard or the Monastery, and the game's fourth route
As you begin your way through Fire Emblem: Three Houses, you might naturally assume that there are three storyline 'routes', depending on which House you choose at the beginning of the game. However, there are actually four routes in total, each with a distinct storyline.
If you joined Dimitri's Blue Lions or Claude's Golden Deer, then you have no decisions to make as these two routes simply carry you through the respective storylines for those two houses.
However, If you joined the Black Eagle house with Edelgard at the beginning of the game, things will proceed as normal until Month 2 on the Fodlan Calendar: Pegasus Moon. In this month, you will encounter a route branching point where you will have to decide which you will take. Ultimately, the decision you are making is if you want to <join up with Edelgard>, or if you want to <remain loyal to the Monastery>. This branching point for the Black Eagles is why the game has four total routes instead of just three.
In this month, when you talk to Edelgard at Garreg Mach during exploration, she will ask you to accompany her for a trip back to the Empire. The game doesn't shy away, and will outright tell you that your decision here will "drastically change the story”. If you choose to go with Edelgard, you'll immediately end the rest of the Exploration Day, and you'll miss the next Lecture day. But you need to do this in order to join up with Edelgard later, though you are not locked into this route quite yet.
If you ignore Edelgard or deny her request, you will NOT have the option to join with her later.
Then, after the storyline battle this month (Conflict in the Holy Tomb), you will be asked to make a final decision.
- To go join up with Edelgard, you must choose to 'Protect Edelgard' here. This option is only available if you went with her to the Empire during Month 2 Exploration.
- To stay at the Monastery, you must select either 'Kill Edelgard' or '...'.
After that, you will continue on whichever route you decided to pursue.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses - The four routes and their names
Fire Emblem: Three Houses does actually have official names for the four different routes in Part 2 of the game after the timeskip, plus a name for the Part 1 route regardless of House choice. These names are given in game as:
- White Clouds (Part 1, before the timeskip)
- Verdant Wind (Part 2, Claude's Route)
- Azure Moon (Part 2, Dimitri's Route)
- Crimson Flower (Part 2, Edelgard's Route)
- Silver Snow (Part 2, Monastery Route)
As a final fun fact, the game's Japanese subtitle is not "Three Houses". The Kanji subtitle is an idiomatic expression of the four seasons. This can also be directly translated as 'wind, flower, snow, moon', referencing the game's four timeskip routes.