“...My fondest wish will be granted... To spend the rest of my days in the embrace of my loving wife once more...”
—Orson, revealing his motivation for betraying Renais
It is worth noting that any items left in Orson's inventory at the end of Chapter 5x will be lost forever. They can be preserved by trading them to Ephraim, Kyle, or Forde, who will keep all of their items.
Sometime before the storyline, Orson was well-known among the knights for his love and devotion to his wife, Monica. After her death, his behavior greatly changed and he made a deal to betray Renais and side with the Grado Empire in exchange for Monica's resurrection.
He is first seen when he is accompanying Ephraim, Kyle, and Forde during their assault on Renvall Castle. Unbeknownst to them, he is secretly working for Grado. At the start of Chapter 5x, Tirado refers to Orson when he says "along the prince's side is a friend. When the time comes, that friend will come to our aid."
Before the beginning of Chapter 8, he greets Eirika and Seth when they approach Renvall Castle, claiming that Ephraim is imprisoned inside of it. However, Seth quickly becomes suspicious and points out several things that reveal Orson to be a traitor.
Following his betrayal, Orson leaves Renvall Castle and returns to Renais to be with Monica. As time passes, he falls deeper into madness, not realizing that Monica is only a corpse. He appears once again in Chapter 16 as an enemy boss. By this time, he has been placed on the throne of Renais, which he makes no effort to rule, causing it to fall into chaos. It is stated that he never allows anyone to enter the royal chambers and refuses to accept meals. At the start of the chapter, he brings a birthday gift for Monica. However, he soon discovers that Eirika and Ephraim are attacking the castle and thus is forced to fight against them to keep his home.
*Only on Ephraim's route and Creature Campaign
**Only on Creature Campaign
***Only on Eirika's route
Orson has good HP, Strength, and Defense as a Paladin. Also, he's dependable when it comes to strong opponents, with good growth stats, of course. Even so, he can be useful if players want to clear levels at the Tower or Ruins, and can be a good substitute for Seth in Creature Campaign. In addition, he does come in handy with the Runesword in his arsenal, since he can heal himself; even if you don't use him, the Runesword can find use with units like Colm or Marisa. Be careful though, as he has horrible luck. In Chapter 5x, he is a very strong unit capable of killing most, if not all enemies in the level. As he is no longer playable after Chapter 5x (excluding Creature Campaign), it is recommended before seizing the throne that his items be traded to Ephraim, Kyle or Forde, particularly his Silver Sword.
“This wound... It will slow me down. I must retreat.”
—Retreat Quote as an ally in Chapter 5x
—Death Quote as an enemy in Chapter 16
“...I won't let you come between us. Monica and I will live here happily together. Forever...”
—Orson's default battle quote in Chapter 16.
Forde: Sir Orson...Why did you have to betray us? Your departed wife is weeping in shame.
Orson: You're wrong, Forde. My wife is happy. We are so very happy.
Kyle: Sir Orson! You betrayed your master, Prince Ephraim, to Grado. Have you forgotten what it means to be a knight?!
Orson: Kyle...You know nothing...I am happy now.
Orson: Seth...So you've come, have you?
Seth: Sir Orson.
Orson: You're an impressive knight, Seth. You would sacrifice your life for king and country. Not even a moment's pause. It's a pitiful, unrewarding life, through and through.
Seth: It is my charge. It is my hope. Sir Orson...Prepare yourself.
Eirika: Orson...Why would you betray us?
Orson: Princess Eirika... If anyone could understand my feelings, it might be you. For the one I love...I betrayed everything. My country, my lord and master...Everything...
Orson: Prince Ephraim… You never did know when to quit. Renais is already lost. It's too late...
Ephraim: Orson... You will move from that place. That is my father's seat. It is his throne... You've no right to sit there.
The name 'Orson' is an anglicization of the French word 'ours,' meaning 'bear,' itself derived from the Latin word 'ursinus.'
- Orson's status as a temporary character is foreshadowed in that he cannot be selected as a link arena character.
- Karin suggests for Eyrios to use the name 'Olson' in Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, because she thinks it is more befitting of a commoner.