This particular writeup will pull from one of my own personal theories, as well as reach into a curious one I had stumbled upon elsewhere. There are interesting aspects to it, so I felt it was most definitely something worth sharing.
Part 1: Origin
To begin, I will address my portion of the theory- and it is the origin of the Grals Ritter. If you read my blog, you may think this sounds familiar, as it’s the pieces cobbled together from the theory I wrote about pre-Ao no Kiseki. I was disappointed when Ao no Kiseki smashed it to pieces, but I then realized that it wasn’t as ruined as I initially thought…
As I warned on my personal blog, this seems to be a ‘can of worms’ theory.
For quite some time, I think we’ve had some hints to the origin of the Grals Ritter, which is- in my opinion- one of the more mysterious organizations found in Zemuria. Some questionable comments even lead many of us to believe that the Grals Ritter did not, in fact, form alongside the Septian Church- but rather before the church proper.
This is evidenced by the First Dominion saying, at one point, that the Grals Ritter have existed for a thousand years. I feel that a ‘three hundred year’ gap is a little much to passively round up in conversation, which implies that the knights themselves existed three hundred years longer than the church itself.
During my playthrough of Zero no Kiseki, some observations I had made were never linked together until a random brainstorming session of THINGS WE’VE SEEN with Andrew “SpaceDrake” Dice. This talk, fueled by both late night and caffeine caused some crazy ideas, but as we worked it out more, we started to see a very clear pattern:
Sun – Moon – Star
Looking around throughout the series, you will continuously see this show itself throughout the games, in one way or another. In Crossbell, you will find three locations: the Temple of the Moon, the Fortress of the Sun, and the Tower of Stargaze – all three of these possessed the bells to activate the events that take place in Ao no Kiseki, as well!
The gameplay mechanic of the memory doors in 3rd play off of the Sun, Moon, Star motif.
Sen no Kiseki II brings up the “ancient elements” of Sun, Moon, Star.
Zero no Kiseki has Golden Sun, Silver Moon – a play talking about the tribes of the Sun, the Moon, and the Star, and the story of their two maidens.
And what am I getting at? This is a regular pattern- it is also a pattern that can be found in another place: the crest for the Septian Church itself.
Shown in the image above, you can see the emblem behind Kevin’s artwork, and at three points you can see the sun, moon, and star motifs that are coming up everywhere else.
Now, wait a second… I know, I know, I just said that I think they weren’t formed together. Kind of. I actually think that they were two groups who came together to make one group- the one we know now as the Septian Church.
When you look at the play that was presented in Zero no Kiseki, it told the story of a dancer who became the Princess of the Sun to gain the will of the goddess of the heavens. (Term used here is actually ten/天, not sora/空.) She wasn’t the only one selected, however, as the Clan of the Night selected their Princess of the Moon. Finally, while this third group was never given detail during the play itself, the Shrine of the Stars seemed to act as mediators for the two.
When the end of the play happens, however, you are so focused on what happened to Elie’s grandfather, rather than the play itself. As such, there is no narration for the last scene given in-game, but I don’t think you need it at all. What was initially a battle between Ilya and Rixia became a celebration. In it, Ilya and Rixia are celebrating on the chandelier alongside the Clan of the Night and the Shrine of the Stars – while the Clan of the Sun is left behind on the stage.
While I can’t say for sure where the ‘Clan of the Night’ or the ‘Clan of the Sun’ came from anymore, I’m willing to bet that the play showed us what potentially became the origins of the Septian Church in some way or another, because when you look at the symbology related to the ‘stars’ in Zero and Ao no Kiseki, you will see a very familiar look.
The symbol of the Grals Ritter is very much defined by the star and scales. This symbology has also shown up in Crossbell at the Tower of Stargaze.
This, along with the mediator role that the members of the Shrine of the Stars had at one point, seems to really play along with the sort of actions seen by the Grals Ritter- to play the middle man with their interests as the goal.
Last, but not least, when you think about the concept of the Grals Ritter, the name of the kanji outright states that they’re the knights of the star grail. Another piece in on all of this.
Time to Put the Mess Together
The base of all of this is that during the dark ages, and maybe before, there were three groups. Two of the three were at odds, and the third tried to play as a mediator of sorts between them.
In the end, two groups came together, the play’s “Clan of the Night,” and the “Shrine of the Stars.”
The end result of this portion of the theory is that two groups came together during the dark ages to form what we currently know in Zemuria as the Septian Church. In the process of forming this one organization, one of the groups pushed away their rival and left them in the dark – do we know what happened or who it is?
I have no clue. I thought I knew, then Ao no Kiseki happened!
The end result is that this one group may not have been cohesive from the start, but joined due to some sort of necessity. They may not even have similar interests, but it works for them as a whole to function as one organization to the public eye. The most important thing is who was the initiator of such a plan- I would be willing to go as far as to suggest that it was the ‘Shrine of the Stars’ that initiated the action, and thus puts the Grals Ritter in a position of power in the background of the Septian Church.
Which would also explain some of the distrust between the two portions.
This also explains a discrepancy in ages and dates of the Septian Church in the games. It is openly known (check the history museum in Grancel for evidence!) that the Septian Church was formed in SE 500 and helped lead the people out of the Dark Ages. However, the current year in the games is 1202 ~ 1204.
Ein stating that the knights have been around for a thousand years implies that they are older than the Church, which is where you start to see the separation in the two at their originating point, too.
Goals and Rivalry
This is where my theory kind of fizzles out. I’ve not really pushed beyond this point personally, but I’ve seen an interesting thought brought forward by people elsewhere that seems to play into something with this.
Disclaimer: I am not sure where I stand regarding this theory, though it is a very interesting one.
By this point, I’m no longer talking directly about the Septian Church as a whole, but moreso the Grals Ritter, as this theory implies that they’re a driving power in the church. It is pretty clear that we have a rift upcoming within the church from the Grals Ritter and the rest of the church, but when you look at the above segment, it should be unsurprising, since they were never one cohesive group to begin with. I will also be interjecting some of my own observations into this theory as well.
The Divine Woman
First off, you cannot discount the similarities between the Grals Ritter and the Ouroboros. Then there’s the fact that the two seem to be directly at odds with each other; no matter what is going on with the Septian Church or other incidents, there is a clear intention from the Grals Ritter to keep the Ouroboros out of their work.
Weismann was excommunicated for performing research on the stigma, in an attempt to create supersoldiers for the Ouroboros, as an example. This simply implies that the Ouroboros does not have access to such a thing, and it’s an anathema for anyone to ‘test’ with concepts and ideas based on what may, or may not, be the cornerstone of the leadership in the Grals Ritter- as such, it most definitely identifies that the source of their power is unique, but seeing as much said from McBurn in Sen no Kiseki II (–that his power is not like the stigma of the Dominion) helps add to this.
Back in my theory of the origins of the Grals Ritter, there is an implication that the form of Eidos/Aidios is, in fact a lie. While Joachim, and the other people behind D∴G were not good people, I feel that there may have been a truth behind his words- he was a twisted man, but he was still a man of faith, and he firmly believed that the goddess of the Septian Church is a lie.
I do not discount this. In fact, I will go as far to say that this may even be accurate.
The Grals Ritter’s origin of approximately 1000 years prior in SE300 and the formation of the Septian Church in SE500 does not line up with the museum in Grancel displaying that the first known usage of Eidos/Aidios’ likeness was in SE900. 400 years after the formation of the Church as a whole.
The goal this theory brings about is that the Goddess, like the Sept-Terrion, was also lost, and that both the Ouroboros and Grals Ritter are attempting a revival of sorts. But how and what this revival is, on the other hand, is where we find the differing beliefs.
We’ll begin with the Ouroboros and their goals. A popular theory is that Eidos/Aidios is the grandmaster. This theory does discount it to a degree, but only somewhat. The theory states that the Ouroboros believes that a divine woman can become the Goddess in lieu of her disappearance through the appropriate methods.
Thus a woman of great power runs the Ouroboros, but she is not yet the goddess in question, rather she seeks to obtain true divinity through the means she’s laid out for the Ouroboros to accomplish. This lines into an actual real world, Greek philosphy that mortal life is a combination of evil and divinity, and to achieve true divinity, the naturally ‘evil’ aspect of mortality must be shed, and the soul must be migrated away from it. This is part of the statements of the Orphic Mysteries of Greek Philosophy. (Allow me to point out the usage of the Orpheus Project from the Ouroboros.)
However, we will run into a huge clash of this base ideology when we look at the Grals Ritter.
The Power of Man
They, too, seek a return of divinity, though through different means. In this case, there’s a clear view of ‘divinity in man’ through them via the stigma and the Dominion. With the base concept of the stigma being holy marks that are both on the body and soul, this implies that divinity can be held by a mortal without shedding its allegedly evil aspects. Not one single individual maintains this ‘divinity,’ rather it is held through the twelve that are marked.
More importantly, the Grals Ritter seem to have no qualms of maintaining a status quo in the world. They have the reverence of the public, as the Septian Church is the largest religion in Zemuria. They have a power that few can replicate, and not in their spiritual gifts, but more in their sociopolitical power- a sister or priest can manage to gain favors from political forces in ways that other leaders and politicians are not. As long as the nations cooperate with their requests, this puts them in a unique position- especially as they have even outlawed the possession of Artifacts. The most important part of this would be a combination of maintaining this status quo, and locating any of the other Dominion that have yet to be found.
But what would happen upon all twelve being together- basically that the divinity that the Ouroboros seeks for one person would be held through twelve individuals working together.
Now, while this is where the theory begins to weaken itself for me- I feel that the Grals Ritter have something a little beyond just what it suggests about them. However, if I sit back and think about them, my personal theory is that they seek to ensure that another collapse will not happen again- and that, in of itself, is also a part of the ‘status quo’ concept. Control the development of the civilizations so that they cannot trigger another such incident again.
So at this point, who knows on the goal- but the basis of it is most definitely and curious and interesting thought.