Observations on the Black History and the mysteries of Erebonia

Gu4n has already done an excellent job summarizing the Black History and the possible nature of the remaining Sept-Terion so I won’t go over the general material again (here at any rate). Instead I’d like to offer my own thoughts on the two treasures found within Erebonia and some of the other mysteries that have been presented to us.

-The Giants-

I believe that what we are seeing with this story is an account of an ancient war between two of the pre-Collapse societies. As a reminder, we know from SC and that when Eidos granted her seven treasures to humanity, the recipients divided into seven groups and each used their treasure to build an ideal society according to their own beliefs. By stating that Erebonia has two Sept-Terion, Thomas implies that two such groups of ancient peoples must have lived in the area that is now Erebonia.

What do we see in the story? A pair of ‘giants’ (and we are told each had a unique power) and the followers of these giants. It isn’t much of a stretch to assume that we’re actually looking at Sept-Terion and the societies built around them. Thus, instead of a literal battle between two enormous people, we have an account of a war between two of these societies. It would thematically fit with Erebonia being the most war-focused country we know about and provide an interesting dimension to Zemuria’s ‘golden age’. When the legend talks about Eidos being unable to help, we can take it at face value. Especially since it dovetails with another theory I have…

In the end, the ‘giants’ kill each other and what makes more sense than that this represents the loss (through whatever method) of the two Sept-Terion? Now is where it gets interesting. We’re specifically told that the ‘giants’ died but they left behind both their followers and ‘a mighty power’. Here’s how that word is written in the books: 巨イナルチカラ

That phrase with the exact same spelling is also used as the name of the song that plays when Loa Erebonius appears and when End of Vermillion awakens. It also appears in part as the subtitle when Loa Luciferia appears. Before that however is the really interesting part. Upon entering the Cathedral, everyone sees a humanoid figure and they have a conversation with it. During this conversation the figure describes itself as a ‘shadow of a great existence’. Similar terminology (巨イナル影) is used for the part of the Old Building where Loa Erebonius was found and while it doesn’t appear in-game, promotional artwork showed a humanoid figure identical to the one that speaks to the party in the second game.

-The Sept-Terion-

My belief is that these figures are the ‘will’ of the two Sept-Terion that were lost long ago. We know from past games that the treasures are self-aware and can communicate with each other and with humans. Their appearing as giants of light may have been a hint on Falcom’s part as to their connection with the Black History legend or they could be the forms the treasures are using to communicate in the present.

There’s even some linguistic support for this: The bosses are Loa Erebonius and Lucifaria, the term in Voodoo for the spirits that are intermediaries between humans and the creator god. Methinks that we are meant to take these entities as shadows of something greater, which is borne out by their self-descriptions as ‘fragments of a great power’.

On the assumption that these names were not picked out of a hat, I conclude that the two Sept-Terion in Erebonia are likely named Erebonius and Luciferia, or since the Black History notes that Erebonia’s name is a corruption of an older word, perhaps their original names are Erebos and Lucifer (Darkness and Lightbringer in Greek and Latin). By thematic similarity that would make them the treasures of Time and Fire. The latter is a pretty obvious match for Erebonia and the name of Ouroboros’ plan (Phantasmal Blaze) and magazine articles before the release of Sen II basically said ‘yeah, Erebonia has Fire’. As far as Time goes, it could certainly explain the mystery of Arianrhod and all of the gear imagery we’ve seen.

Now, a problem that I admit this theory has is that it seemingly connects the element of Time with the Divine Knights (since Loa Erebonius is the one whose trial opens the way to Valimar) while thematically it would be more appropriate for Fire to fill that role. If I’m at all on the right track with this theory I assume an answer will come in the next game. It’s possible I’m completely wrong about the names of the entities and the two Loa figures are fragments of just one Sept-Terion’s will.

-Sacred Beasts-

Each of the Sept-Terion so far has had an entity tasked by Eidos to watch over it. I’m just going to say that the butterflies made of flames that show up in the opening movie (with one showing up right as End of Vermillion awakens) are probably connected to the beast associated with the Sept-Terion of Fire and be done. Now on to the other. I can’t claim full credit for coming up with this idea (Japanese fans beat me to it) but I really like it so I’m going to put my money down on the second Sacred Beast being the unicorn that is the symbol of St. Astraia. It’s actually called a sacred beast in its description in Myths and Legends of Erebonia, everything else in that book has either become important or looks like it’s about to and it would be an easy way to work it in. And I’m going to echo the Japanese fans who first put this thought into my head and say that the beast is… Beryl. Yes, the weird girl from the Occult Studies club. Who seems to know something about the real mysteries of Thors while hiding behind a façade of ‘fake’ mysteries. And may have the ability to predict the future. And who claims to be protected by a great guardian spirit whose name is suspiciously similar to her own. And who Emma and Celine swear up and down has absolutely no magical power but she seems to be able to teleport and turn herself invisible. And she spends most of Sen II investigating known areas where the three higher elements are active, with no apparent concern for her safety despite the civil war raging in the background and no means of transportation. So yeah, Something Is Up with this girl. So you heard it here first, she’s a unicorn spirit.

-The Divine Knights-

Moving on, we have the other huge mystery of Erebonia. Thanks to the Black History we can push back the date of their creation to at least the beginning of the Dark Ages.  Hector the First is specifically noted to have ‘found’ Testarossa so it and the others can’t have been recent creations. At the latest I would imagine they were created shortly after the Great Collapse, before too much knowledge was lost. However, I do suspect them to be even older than that for reasons I’ll get into later. Thomas confirms for us that there are seven God Knights, which we thought was likely after the first game since the number recurs throughout the games.

One other thing to bear in mind about the Knights is that Emma calls them ‘vessels of power’. And if anyone knows about these things, it’s clearly the Hexen. And because Vita clearly believes that observing the Knights is necessary to carry out Ouroboros’ long-term goals, it’s safe to assume that they must in some way be linked to one of the Sept-Terion. Taking these two observations together, I believe that the seven Knights are being powered by one of the two treasures and for thematic reasons, Fire would make the most sense.

At this point we don’t know enough to say why the Knights exist. My guess is that they were created during the war described in the Black History and were meant to weaponize the power of one side’s Sept-Terion. There’s some precedent for this since Aureole created and powered the Traumerei machines to protect itself. The God Knights would simply be more powerful and more directly connected to their respective treasure. There’s also some support for this in what we see Testarossa do. Where exactly is it pulling all of its weapons from and how is it retrieving them? We don’t know but ‘miracles’ are sort of what the Sept-Terion do.

One related possibility is that the Divine Knights were created to bleed off the power from a treasure that was going out of control and either this weakened it enough that its body (for lack of a better term) could be destroyed or they actually intended to seal its power up in reduced form in seven separate vessels and end its existence as a single entity. In that case, finding all seven would be even more important.

-Where are they now?-

Ahh, this is the real question isn’t it? We know there are seven Knights, we’re reasonably certain that they’re directly linked to one of the two Sept-Terion at play in Erebonia and we’re reasonably certain that all seven will be important. However, we only have confirmed information on three of them and a tiny bit of information on two more.

  • Valimar: In Rean’s possession
  • Ordine: Heavily damaged and its Awakener is dead. However, Kondo’s response to an interview question about its fate suggests we aren’t done with it quite yet…
  • Testarossa: Had its Core ripped out and has no Awakener. However, I suspect we aren’t done with it quite yet either.
  • ‘Palatinate Knight’: Operated by Prince Lucius during the Lion War, allied with Dreichels and fought a battle with Testarossa which it lost. Current fate unknown.
  • ‘Lohengrin Divine Knight’: Was stored behind a door at Lohengrin Castle. According to Celine it was taken from that place long ago and she doesn’t know where it is.

Now, I assume Testarossa isn’t completely removed from consideration because if it was that easy to destroy a God Knight, there’s no reason for us to think that Dreichels and Lianne couldn’t have done it 250 years ago, especially since that would remove any possibility of someone reawakening the thing and the even more dangerous power within it. For the same reason I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Prince Lucius’ God Knight. The fifth one is the real mystery. If it was present during the Lion War, there should have been no need for Dreichels to seek out Valimar since he and the good lady of Lohengrin were boon companions. Similarly, the story doesn’t match up with the known Knights so it’s likely to be one that hasn’t already appeared. I’ve seen some speculation among Japanese fans that Lianne became an Awakener before meeting Dreichels and it’s her Knight that she’s kept secret. Not sure how I feel about that one but it’s certainly possible.

So, five Knights are known to have been awakened at some point two more are out there somewhere. If we look at where the known Knights were found, Valimar was always sleeping in Trista, Testarossa was first in or around Saint Arkh and later sealed beneath Heimdallr and Ordine was found in, well, Ordis. The Lohengrin Knight is obvious and we have no clue where Lucius found his. However, I think I know where it is now. The Hexen know a lot more about the Knights than anyone else and we know one of them helped Dreichels find Valimar and forge a weapon for it so it doesn’t strain credulity to assume that they’ve been keeping a direct eye on at least one of the things. Recovering the last known Divine Knight and keeping an eye on it as part of their ‘system’ would make sense so I predict that wherever their village is, that’s where the Knight is.

Prediction: One of the remaining Knights will be located on Brionia Island in the west. We know it has ancient ruins and that sounds like the perfect location to find, well, an ancient relic. I further predict that the second outstanding Knight will be hidden in or around Palm. My reasoning is simple; It’s been mentioned a lot throughout the games so if it comes down to speculating that one is hidden in a place we’ve heard of versus a place we’ve never heard of before the next game, I’ll bet on the former every time.

Additional prediction: On the assumption that all seven God Knights are necessary for what’s to come, Testarossa will be freed from its ‘curse’ during the events of the next game… and Alfin will become its new Awakener. I have one serious reason for this, which is that she’s of the same bloodline as Cedric and so is capable of activating it and she’s already a playable character. Also and perhaps more importantly: It would be entertaining as hell.

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