—Eliwood in Chapter 20 of The Blazing Blade
Mark is portrayed as a mysterious traveler who is found unconscious on the plains by Lyndis at the beginning of Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade. They are the first custom character to appear in the Fire Emblem series.
Mark was introduced to give the player an actual role in the game and help introduce players to Fire Emblem gameplay. This is particularly notable given that The Blazing Blade was the first Fire Emblem to be released internationally.
Mark is an enigmatic person whose history is unknown. Their name, personality, and birth date (and blood type in the Japanese version) is determined by the player. While unable to fight, Mark is an aspiring tactician, traveling across Lycia to improve their tactical skills. Aside from a few side glimpses in some CGs, Mark is never directly seen aside from their field sprite which is merely an NPC. During cutscenes where they are involved, Lyn, Eliwood, and Hector look directly to the player during their direct interactions with Mark.
Mark was found on the wayside by Lyn and nursed back to health by her. Immediately the two are attacked by bandits and Lyn charges into battle with Mark guiding her through the fights. Impressed, Lyn asks Mark to accompany her on her journey to exact revenge on the bandits that slaughtered her tribe. During her travels, Lyn become acquainted with some knights of Caelin, learning of her heritage. Mark also meets a slew of knights as well as Eliwood and Hector. Mark continues to assist Lyn to quell the planned usurping of the throne by the power hungry Lundgren.
With the uprising quelled, Lyn is reunited with her maternal grandfather Hausen. Mark decides to leave on a journey alone, but Lyn is sure that they will meet again one day.
A year after Lyn's tale, Mark is recruited by Eliwood/Hector to help them during their stories. They are reunited with Lyn's allies and prove to be an valuable asset during the course of The Blazing Blade.
At the end of Eliwood or Hector's stories, they are summoned by the featured Lord to attend their coronations as Marquess of Pherae and Ostia respectively. Depending on which route is taken, the focused Lord speaks to Mark in private alongside their wife. Having formed a strong bond, Eliwood/Hector asks for Mark to be the godparent of their future child and requests a name for them. For Eliwood, Mark gives him the name Roy for his son. For Hector, Mark gives him the name Lilina for his daughter. After their coronations, Mark leaves again once more on a journey, disappearing completely with no one seeing them afterwards.
Historians for many years would analyze Mark's tactics during their journey. Depending on their rank, they are remembered differently. At the lowest rank, the puzzling strategies of Mark are so incomprehensible, few are even sure how they ever could have lead to success. At better ranks, many nations, namely Bern, Lycia, and Etruria, spent years in search for Mark to use their brilliant tactics. At the highest rank, historians have stated that their flawless tactics influenced the very course of history. Bern and Etruria coveted their skill so much that the two nations would eventually go to war against each other. Regardless of the ending, Mark was never seen again and goes unmentioned in The Binding Blade.
While they do not make a direct appearance, in Fire Emblem Awakening, at the end of Smash Brethren 3, Lyn's Einherjar speaks to Robin. Due to seeing similarities between the two tacticians, Lyn believes Robin to be her old friend. She asks Robin if this is so, and the player is given a yes/no choice that Lyn will respond to accordingly. If yes, Lyn vows to bring them back to Lycia to meet their old friends. If no, Lyn decides to follow them anyways just to try and confirm her suspicions.
Despite never having a set appearance or any dialogue in the story, some snippets of Mark's personality are seen in conversations with other characters. They are compassionate, willing to let Lyn journey with them and help her take back her land, family and inheritance. They can be rather incredulous at times, shown when Serra wonders why Mark is giving her a strange look at her "generosity" when offering to heal Erk. They are also willing to go to any lengths for their friends, shown when they even join the final battle against Nergal.
Some characters will respond to Mark differently depending on their gender. For example, Sain will try to flirt with both Lyn and the player if Mark is a female and Florina will hesitate to speak to the player if Mark is a male, but will talk in a more comfortable manner when speaking to a female Mark. Nonetheless, everyone in the army respects Mark greatly, offering suggestions and putting their faith in his or her orders.
Mark will never appear on the field of battle, but they can contribute all the same. Starting in Chapter 11, the game will keep a hidden tally (only revealed in the results screen) measuring the player's overall aptitude throughout the campaign. Each chapter has four hidden 'thresholds' for each of the five criteria featured in the ranking screen:
- Tactics: Turncount for the current chapter. Some chapters, namely Hector-exclusive chapters, have an unreachable '0' for its easiest threshold, making it impossible to score above 1/5 in this area.
- Combat: Number of enemies killed vs. number of battles fought. Roughly 40% of all battles should end in an enemy dying, for a 5/5. Many enemies are frail and tend to die in two battles or less, so this rating is trivially easy to score well in, as long as the player doesn't Boss Abuse.
- Experience: Number of Experience points gained in the current chapter.
- Funds: Change in net worth during the current chapter, including the buy value of all items in the player's inventory. Because an item's sell value is always lower than its buy value, selling items (particularly Gems) will always hurt a player's funds rank.
- Survival: Number of units, if any, that died during the current chapter. A unit's death will instantly prevent a 5/5 score for the chapter.
The game will calculate a total score for the chapter, based on the best threshold the player reached for each area. Depending on the player's score, they will be assigned anywhere from 0 to 5 points. 0 Points corresponds to an overall 1/5 ranking in virtually every area, with none of the lowest pars reached. 5 points corresponds to a perfect 5/5 in every area, with all of the hardest pars reached. It should be noted that achieving a perfect 5/5 score is literally impossible in some chapters, primarily bonus missions from Hector's campaign and Survival missions in which killing the boss will not end the chapter, as a 5/5 tactics ranking is impossible in both cases.
For every 12 points the player earns this way, Mark will be afforded a tactician star, up to a maximum of 10.
Units whose affinity is identical to Mark's receive an additional point in both hit and avoid for each star Mark earns. For all units, regardless of affinity, an additional point is added to critical evasion for each star that's earned. If the player decides to not use Mark at all, no units will receive this bonus. Because all units receive a boost to critical evasion as a result of Tactician Stars, enemy criticals are extremely rare in The Blazing Blade, usually only achieved by Swordmasters or enemies with dedicated critical-hitting gear. This boost can be compared to Leadership Stars from Thracia 776. Depending on the player's aptitude, the player can expect to receive an additional star anywhere from once every three chapters to about once every ten chapters.
The affinity of Mark is determined by Mark's chosen birth month. In the Japanese version of the game, an option exists to choose the Mark's bloodtype, which will also factor into determining affinity. Due to a lesser cultural importance of bloodtypes, this isn't included in the English version and affinity is determined purely by birth month. If the player elects not to use Mark, NO units will receive an affinity boost. Some affinities are generally considered better or worse than others. The Dark affinity, for example, only has four representatives, two of whom are rarely used prepromotes and one of whom is Merlinus and should never see combat to begin with. Wind, on the other hand, has nearly twice as many representatives, including a Lord, a Thief, and a powerful cavalier who would very much appreciate the accuracy boost.
If the player elects not to use Mark at all, they will never receive Afa's Drops.
—Dorcas's conversation in Chapter 12
—Lowen's conversation in Chapter 13
—Merlinus's conversation in Chapter 13x
—Marcus's conversation in Chapter 14
—Erk's conversation in Chapter 15
—Eliwood's conversation in Chapter 16
—Lucius's conversation in Chapter 16x
—Guy's conversation in Chapter 17
—Dart's conversation in Chapter 18
—Fiora's conversation in Chapter 18x
—Sain's conversation in Chapter 19
—Ninian's conversation in Chapter 20
—Isadora's conversation in Chapter 21
—Canas's conversation in Chapter 22
—Hawkeye's conversation in Chapter 22x
—Heath's conversation in Chapter 23
—Pent's conversation in Chapter 24
—Geitz's conversation in Chapter 25
—Harken's conversation in Chapter 26
—Nino's conversation in Chapter 27
—Hector's conversation in Chapter 28
—Vaida's conversation in Chapter 29
—Bartre's conversation in Chapter 29x
—Nils's conversation in Chapter 30
—Eliwood's conversation in Final Chapter
—Eliwood's conversation in Final Chapter
—Matthew's conversation in Chapter 13
—Serra's conversation in Chapter 14
—Oswin's conversation in Chapter 15
—Florina's conversation in Chapter 16
—Hector's conversation in Chapter 17
—Raven's conversation in Chapter 17x
—Priscilla's conversation in Chapter 18
—Rebecca's conversation in Chapter 19
—Kent's conversation in Chapter 20
—Ninian's conversation in Chapter 21
—Wil’s conversation in Chapter 22
—Rath's conversation in Chapter 23
—Hawkeye's conversation in Chapter 23x
—Legault's conversation in Chapter 24
Fiora: We’re moving out, too, right, Mark? Let’s go, Florina.
Florina: OK… But there are so many of them. If only Farina were here with us…
—Florina and Fiora's conversation in Chapter 25
—Louise's conversation in Chapter 26
—Wallace's conversation in Chapter 27
—Karel's conversation in Chapter 28
—Jaffar's conversation in Chapter 29
—Eliwood's conversation in Chapter 30
—Farina's conversation in Chapter 31
—Karla's conversation in Chapter 32
—Renault's conversation in Chapter 32x
—Hector's conversation in Final Chapter
—Hector's conversation in Final Chapter
Note: Mark is the default tactician's name. You are given the choice to replace "Mark" with a name of your choosing.
Mark - The Tactician
"Mark leaves Lyn to continue his training. He plans on traveling throughout Lycia. Lyn refuses to say good-bye, believing in her heart that she will see him again."
Mark - Superb Mind (Tactician Rank A or S)
"A tactician whose brilliance changed the course of history. Bern and Etruria so desired this skilled mind that they went to war."
Mark - Famed Genius (Tactician Rank B or C)
"The tactician vanished after the battle. Bern, Lycia, and Etruria all sought those famed skills, but none ever found the tactician."
Mark - Suspect Mind (Tactician Rank D or Lower)
"To this day, historians look back and question how these incomprehensible strategies ever led to victory."
Affinities of Birth Months
- January: Light
- February: Ice
- March: Wind
- April: Thunder
- May: Wind
- June: Anima
- July: Fire
- August: Dark
- September: Fire
- October: Anima
- November: Ice
- December: Thunder
The default name of the Tactician, Mark, is a variation of the name Marcus and comes from the Latin Mart-kos, or a dedication to Mars, the god of war in the Roman pantheon.
- In Chapter 24E/26H of The Blazing Blade, when entering one of the houses, a villager will ask the unit who enters the house if they know Mark. She will tell how she helped out a traveler who happened to be a tactician who cared for their soldiers and won several battles without casualties. This implies that they had been in Bern before, since the chapter takes place there, and that Mark served an army before joining Eliwood's group.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening, Lyn suspects that Mark and Robin might be the same person. This is an allusion to the possibility of Lyn remembering the player from The Blazing Blade. This isn't the only allusion made to the Tactician in Awakening; the Japanese name of Morgan is Marc.
- In Fire Emblem Heroes, Lyndis (Bride), upon reaching level 40, mentions that Kiran reminds her of Mark, the tactician she traveled with and the friendship they shared.
- Also, Lyndis (Brave) mentions how Kiran resembles Mark in one of her quotes on the Info Screen.
- Strangely enough, the regular version of Lyndis doesn't mention Mark in any way.
- In the Paralogue "Brave Echoes", Eliwood (Brave) also mentions that Kiran reminds him Mark.
- In Fire Emblem Warriors, Lyn mentions how Mark can somehow command others without speaking, remarking that there always seems to be an invisible arrow that helps them understand, referencing how the player controls the characters.