The Serenes Massacre is a genocide that occurred twenty years prior to the events of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. It was once thought that it was Ashnard who plotted the massacre, but it was later revealed by Rafiel in Radiant Dawn that the Begnion Senate was actually responsible. This revelation was the event that started the war between the Laguz Alliance and Begnion.
Background and Cause
When Misaha, a previous apostle of Begnion and perhaps the most loved by the public, attempted to reveal her Branded heritage to the public, the Begnion Senate ordered the assassination of Misaha, because the revelation would cause disaster for their teachings, and most beorc at the time hated Branded, and treated them as they did Laguz. When Misaha was assassinated, the citizens immediately went into despair. The Senate placed the blame on the laguz of the Heron tribe. Not only was this accusation false, but it was dubious because the herons have no fighting skills, and prefer to live in peace.
The citizens of Begnion were convinced that the Senate's claims were true. In retaliation, a large number of citizens gathered at the edge of Serenes Forest, home of the heron clan, and commenced the burning of the forest using torches. The burning raged for three days, and almost all of the heron clan was killed. Only five herons were left alive, and they were all of the heron royal family: Reyson, Leanne, Lorazieh, Rafiel, and Lillia.
The massacre is implied to have left the citizens ridden with guilt, most likely after realizing that herons do not fight, and could not have assassinated Misaha. The genocide significantly widened the gap between beorc and laguz, particularly those of the bird tribe, because the hawk laguz of Phoenicis and the raven laguz of Kilvas regard the herons as brothers. In Path of Radiance, the gap was finally narrowed when Reyson and Leanne accepted the apology of Begnion's then-apostle and Misaha's granddaughter, Sanaki.
The Serenes Massacre was the main reason the Laguz declared war on the Begnion Empire.
Lehran, ally of the Three Heroes, was also involved in the massacre. After Misaha was assassinated, Lehran witnessed the Serenes Massacre, helpless to prevent it. It was then that he made the decision to plot humanity’s end.