An argument regarding the identity of the Fifth Anguis of Ouroboros.
The game of ‘guess the secret identity’ has been popular in Kiseki since the end of the first game and we’ve had no end of identities to speculate on. Two of my previous theories concerning the identities of the Seventh and Fourth Anguis were dashed by Ao and Cold Steel II respectively but where one game takes away, it gives as well. I think we have enough evidence now that I can state with reasonable certainty that I know who the Fifth Anguis is.
Let’s go over what we know about this individual. First, from their brief appearance in Star Door 14 we know that the Fifth has a speech pattern typically associated with old men. Second, in an interview Kondo mentioned that the Fourth and/or Fifth Anguis were people whose existence we already knew of, so not like Vita where the game that revealed her as the Second Anguis was the same one that introduced her to begin with. Since Cold Steel II left us with no obvious candidate for the Fourth (and Kondo is the kind of person who would know how fan speculation tends to go), I’m going to assume that was deliberate and that it’s definitely the Fifth who we are in some sense already aware of. Third, Sept Archive reveals that the Fifth Anguis has the title ‘Sinner’. Keep this in mind. This allows us to answer a question we’ve had since Ao because: Fourth, Arianrhod mentioned that she was leaving affairs to the west to this individual. This means that the Fifth is doing something in Erebonia.
Now, about that title. In Japanese it’s ‘Hakai’, part of the same word that Kevin used to describe Weissmann just before he killed him. It appears to be an official designation for a particular kind of heretic. There is no such thing as a coincidence in Kiseki so the fact that this specific word was used should be significant.
Where is this going? That the Fifth Anguis is someone affiliated with the Septian Church. First, a couple of tiny details. When Campanella talks with Kevin at the end of SC he immediately recognizes the latter by his Dominion title. On its own that doesn’t mean much since there are ways to get that information; well-connected people like Cassius and Elie know some of the Dominions by name and Ouroboros has sources everywhere. However, when Macburne discusses how his power works in Cold Steel II, he specifically says that it works differently from a Stigma. Knowledge of exactly how those work is a lot harder to come by than knowledge of the people who possess them. It’s possible Weissmann was his source but I think there’s a better explanation. One more thing that is worth noting is that Falcom rarely gives out information without some ulterior motive. The fact that they decided to reveal that the Fifth Anguis is the mysterious ‘Sinner’ strongly suggests that this piece of information is going to be relevant very soon. In addition, one piece of negative evidence. We already have one Anguis who was excommunicated; I don’t think Falcom would repeat the same routine with another so I think the Fifth is still a member of the Church and the title of Sinner is self-applied. And I think I know who: It’s Barkhorn, the Eighth Dominion.
First let’s reconstruct the chain of evidence that establishes who Barkhorn is. We first learn of the Eighth Dominion (Heaven’s Lion) in The 3rd, where we know they were the Dominion sent to investigate the Salt Paling Incident. This firmly established that the Eighth had to be older, since the incident happened thirty years before the games began. Cold Steel established that Gaius was once taught by a wandering priest. If he’s in your party during the right sidequest in Cold Steel II, he reveals that the priest’s name was Barkhorn. If Sara is also in your party, she completes the link by recognizing the name as belonging to Heaven’s Lion. So, Gaius’ old teacher is the Eighth Dominion. And we know he’s been operating out of western Erebonia.
Barkhorn fits every single criteria we know about the Fifth Anguis. He’s an old man, before Kondo made the statement we already had multiple attestations to his existence, he’s affiliated with the Church and someone to whom the title Sinner could be appended and we know he’s doing something in western Erebonia that should become relevant in the next game. So not only is he a perfect fit but having it be him would open up all kinds of exciting possibilities for the story.