This delicious crack theory suggests that everything we think we know about Zemuria may be false. What if everything since the Great Collapse has been the mere execution of a plan that was drafted prior to the Collapse, which served as a catalyst?
“There’s nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it.” – William James
As someone who does not likes to think out of the box per se but rather radically reconsiders the box as a container itself, this theory began with the idea that despite their unethical methods, the ideologies of Ouroboros might not be as bad as the game want you to believe. The events regarding the Sept-Terrion that transpired throughout Sora no Kiseki SC regarding the Aureole and in Ao no Kiseki regarding Demiurgos led me to believe that we can perceive Ouroboros as the ‘evil’ sibling of the Septian Church. Put differently, the Goddess the Septian Church prays to giveth and the Ouroboros taketh away.
Anguis versus Dominion
What we know is that Ouroboros as an organisation is executing their master plan ORPHEUS, which coincidentally consists of the same amount of letters as there are treasures said to handed down by Eidos. The goal of ORPHEUS is to obtain all seven Sept-Terrion, which are spread throughout the lands of Zemuria. We have come to learn that the Anguis, which happen to be seven (again) in total, are the ones tasked with obtaining these. With both Anguis No. 6 and No. 7 working on retrieving the Demiurgos, it is safe to assume that not each and every one of the Anguis are tasked with retrieving just one Sept-Terrion. But that is beside the point, really.
What we do also know is that the Septian Church, in particular in Grals Ritter’s highest echolon Dominion, is trying to prevent Ouroboros from obtaining the Sept-Terrion. We have seen Kevin come to Liberl from Alteria to prevent Anguis No. 3 from obtaining the Aureole (per Ouroboros’ Gospel Plan), and seen him move onward to Crossbell to help Wazy to stop No. 6 and No. 7 from obtaining the Demiurgos (the first half of the Phantom Blaze plan). Both attempts to stop Ouroboros have failed. That means that as of present, the score between the Church and Ouroboros is 0 – 2.
The second half of the Phantom Blaze plan, however, did not go as expected, as far as we know: Anguis No. 2 had prepared a stage for Valimar and Ordine to fight in order to advance the Plan, but someone had to change the game of the series has been about so far. What we do learn through collecting the Dark Ages Books written by Dominion No. 2 during a second playthrough of Sen no Kiseki II is that there exist two Sept-Terrion in the vast nation of Erebonia. They were most certainly given one by Eidos in ancient times, and obtained another one through annexations of neighbouring countries. That is, as of now, virtually all we know about the Sept-Terrion during the Erebonia arc. One of the hidden quests of Sen II also reveals that not only No. 2, but Dominion No. 8 is actively patrolling through Erebonia as well. Taking the most recent location of Dominion No. 1 as discussed in Ring of Judgement into account as well, and it brings the grand total of Dominion in Erebonia to three.
When Ouroboros looked for their first Sept-Terrion, the Church sent out one Dominion; for the second, they sent two; and with them looking for the third and fourth one, they have three Dominion active in Erebonia. We’re starting to see a pattern here.
The Church’s reactive attitude
What is worthy to note, however, is that while the Septian Church has their best knights patrolling through nations Ouroboros is active in, the Church does not seem to be very inclined to secure to the Sept-Terrion before an Ouroboros agent lays his or her hands on it. In other words, the Septian Church rather has the Sept-Terrion stay where they are right now than they actually obtain them themselves. Though, that is a very tame assumption; time to move on to the actual crack theory.
This theory argues that the reason the Septian Church rather sees the Sept-Terrion hidden where they are right now is because bringing them together again, as Ouroboros is trying to do, would reveal something they have been trying to hide. Whereas the Church has no interest in safely storing the Sept-Terrion in a closet far underneath the cathedral in Alteria, they neither want Ouroboros to lay their hands upon them. We have seen Kevin resort to equally unethical methods in Sora SC and actually risking his life in Ao in order to keep Ouroboros away from Eidos’ treasures.
If the Church is willing to go this far to keep the Sept-Terrion in place, Ouroboros, arguably knowing very well what they are after, might be seeking something that would reveal a truth that could put the Septian Church in a highly unfavourable position. One might argue that it is the truth behind Eidos and that it is actually a construct to manipulate people. Maybe, maybe not. Let’s use our power to reason (and imagine) to go a little bit further than that, now shall we?
Approximately 1200 years before the series begins, a disaster commonly known as The Great Collapse occurred and signifies the collapse of ancient supercivilisations. “Not a blade of grass remained,” Falcom themselves has said about it in English, whatever that is supposed to mean. The highly advanced technologies were lost and what remained of the Zemurian civilisation essentially had to start over, which led to centuries of turmoil until the Septian Church settled things around 500SE (Septian Era). The Church spread the word of Eidos and brought order in the chaos of the Dark Ages. Their reign went on for centuries and marked a milestone in the history of Zemuria until its era historically ended with the Orbal Revolution in 1150SE.
While the Septian Church has actively seeking out Artifacts, which are remnants of technologies from the pre-Collapse civilisations, retrieving Sept-Terrion does not seem to be part of their scheme. But why? Why would the Church, highly interested in ancient technologies, not be interested in ancient treasures with infinite prowess said to be given by the Goddess herself?
The Deception of the Twelve Knights
Because they, or their ancestors, used the Sept-Terrions as a catalyst to bring about whatever caused The Great Collapse. Why? To gain absolute power. But the Church didn’t exist until 500SE? That’s right.
The Septian Church was indeed established in approximately 500SE. However, institutions like the Church do not appear out of nowhere; a group of people must have been behind its foundation. In one of cutscenes of Sora no Kiseki The 3rd, we see Dominion No. 1 tell Kevin that no one has ever refused the title of Dominion in “the thousand years or so” the Grals Ritter have been around (scene depicted above). While we cannot expect her to be precise to the year in ordinary conversations, we can be suspicious of her referring to 200SE (thousand years earlier) instead of 500SE – a three century gap. This may lead us to believe that the Grals Ritter have been around for three centuries before they institutionalised whatever it is they did as Grals Ritter back then as the Septian Church.
It is not unlikely that they – the Grals Ritter, the Septian Church or whatever ancestors they had pre-Collapse – foresaw corruption stemming from the rate at which the ancient technologies were being developed and resorted to the Sept-Terrion’s and by proxy Eidos’ powers to, basically, reset the world. They then developed the religious idol Eidos and introduced her to a world of chaos, bringing order as it has once been before the Pre-Collapse civilisations turned to technologies.
The Orbal Revolution marks a full cycle: the Pre-Collapse civilisations developed advanced technologies which ultimately collapsed into an era of Dark Ages, after which they found order through the Septian Church again only to re-discover the power of Orbal technology.
The very fact that it was the Septian Church who put the Dark Ages’ chaos to order is crucial for our understanding of present-day Zemuria, which has been flourishing for the past seven centuries on the foundation and influence of the Church. Perhaps it is not even the current Septian Church or even their military unit the Grals Ritter that know what really transpired before The Great Collapse, but only the Dominion. Another theory suggests that the Dominion are capable of reincarnation and that (re-)obtaining their Stigma, would have grand them awareness of their prior lives and knowledge.
At the end of SC, we hear Anguis No. 3 during his lecture mode question whether it had been a wise decision by Celeste Von Auslese, founder of Liberl, to seal the Aureole of the Liberlian ancestors away to counter the morale decay it brought about. Anguis No. 3 had been working for five years as a bishop for the Septian Church before it got ex-communicated. During that period, he has undoubtedly found, read and learned about the Aureole through highly confidential scriptures in the Septian Church’s Ministry of Secrets.
Regardless of whatever its contents, who was it that wrote these scriptures featuring in-depth knowledge of celestial treasures? It is hard to imagine that an institution like the church would safeguard folklores passed down by ordinary, thus – once again – this theory places its money on the Dominions. In other words, what the Dominion wrote prior to founding the Church and spreading their beliefs throughout Zemuria, may very well be a ‘truth’ made up to construct the post-Collapse world in a way they thought was best.
Ouroboros’ quest for truth
Following that train of thought and returning to the introduction of this theory, there exists one person who operates outside the twelve Dominion who knows about the truth behind the Sept-Terrion and intends to bring it to light: the founder and leader of the Ouroboros, the Grand Master. This implies that the Grand Master is either one of the twelve Dominion who disagrees with the other eleven and wants to bring their truth to light or it is someone with an ability similar to the Dominion’s reincarnation and established a movement, naming her band after her own never-ending life cycle, in the shadows to overthrow the Dominion. As of now, we do not know of a female Dominion apart from No. 1, but since the Ouroboros Report Drama CD confirmed that the Grand Master has a different voice actor than No. 1, it is safe to assume that No. 1 cannot be the Grand Master. Whoever she may be, though, would be pure speculation.
What also remains to be seen, then, is the objective of the Dominion. The control of the Church over people is arguably greater than any government and with having the Sept-Terrion stay where they are, it seems they seek to maintain the status quo.
But is that really all there is to it?