This submitted theory comes from manifla from the Marvelous forums, or the XSEED forums, now.
Giliath Osborne’s plans for 1205 and how Crossbell would play into them. Not a single mention of the Sept-Terrion in this theory, those are for another theory for another day.
This theory contains spoilers for both the Crossbell and Erebonia arcs. More in detail behind the cut.
The Trails series works with a lot of themes, but I’m going to build upon two of them in this theory-in-progress.
1) Appearances can and will deceive everyone
2) Technology and knowledge are important – guard them well. The condition of Western Zemuria is in considerable uncertainty by the time Trails of Azure and Cold Steel 2 come to an end. Many people can take credit for turning everything upside down, but that is unsurprising given how many long standing issues end up exploding (only counting the ones we know about!) However, no discussion of the events in 1204 and 1205 is possible without mentioning the highly subversive role that the Society of Ouroboros played. And this plays into a methodology that has been reinforced time and time again throughout the series, in Liberl, in Crossbell, in Erebonia – Ouroboros will always first choose the unexpected angle of attack against those who would be enemies of the Grandmaster. Ouroboros can and will share or sell technology to facilitate cooperation with those who would be their “partners.” In that light, it’s hard to take in just how much damage Dieter Crois has done to Western Zemuria on an economic, political, and diplomatic scale, to say nothing of the personal cost for the citizens of Crossbell, but none of that could have happened without the assistance of the Society.
The Fragment Chapter of Azure reveals that other states and nations ended up supporting Dieter’s Zemurian Alliance, because of IBC commitments, because of the power of the Aion archaisms that Ouroboros sold to Dieter, and because the Society was willing to disclose to certain governments that they would support Dieter’s initiative. Queen Alicia’s efforts, the advice of the Septian Church, and the power of Calvard and Erebonia was not enough to convince them otherwise.
Dieter is now a prisoner, Crossbell is occupied, and the Zemurian Alliance is dead. Distrust between nations and paranoia in the body politic is on the rise everywhere, but that does not mean that a familiar kind of diplomacy has no place in this state of affairs. Ouroboros has infiltrated and spied upon, to the fandom’s knowledge, just about every single organization on the continent. But if Ouroboros’s use of assets such as Joshua and Richard and Dieter is subversive and extremely harmful for their enemies, what does that make Rufus Albarea in the Demon Blaze Castle?
Osborne played one of the tricks of the Society upon itself. And with the Black Factory under his control, one of the most advanced weapons and gear manufacturers in existence, to say nothing of the assistance of Reinford and Doctor Schmidt, who’s to say that he won’t go two for two against his enemy? I’d be surprised if he didn’t have a plan for it. But Osborne is the most divisive public figure on the continent by 1205 even if he is in firm control of the Empire’s domestic situation. Assistance as he would offer it to other nations is certain to be spurned out of distrust and fear.
What can he do about this impasse, to present himself as a reasonable alternative? As it so turns out, between Lechter’s reports and Dieter as his prisoner, he almost certainly has a pretty firm idea of all the secrets in Crossbell, and what Ouroboros did there. He has been hinted to have been involved in discovering the false-flag that led to the Hundred Days War, which was the handiwork of “Professor” Weissman and Ouroboros. It is incredibly likely that he knows about everything that happened in Liberl during 1202 with the Society. And he absolutely knows about Ouroboros’s involvement in the Imperial Civil War. Everyone in the know, from bracers to politicians, has kept Ouroboros as a secret from the international public, hoping to prevent hysteria. But Osborne has resources, access to both Crossbell and Imperial media, and offices full of reports, confessions and documents regarding the operations of the Society. If he were to make a streamlined and sanitized version of the activities of Ouroboros available (for free) to the international public, it’s undoubtedly true that populations all over Zemuria would panic.
But in the face of so much evidence and testimony, they would be frightened and angry at this mysterious group of people that has caused widespread death and destruction, a society that has monstrous power and technology at its grasp. They would demand answers, they would demand action from their leaders and representatives, and they would demand to be defended. And in some cases, people would want revenge on Ouroboros. Every government in Zemuria would be under immense pressure to soothe the people and restore stability to the continent. What better way to calm down a country than to show off highly advanced war machines and weapons, to showcase both power and willingness to fight? Who wouldn’t be reassured at the sight of a Spiegel piloted by a patriot willing to defend their country to the death? Granted, these would be weapons ultimately sourced from the Empire and the Black Factory, and they would have a cost of their own.
However, this new state of affairs would not be enough by itself to ease the animosity between Calvard and Erebonia, would not prevent conspiracy theories from popping up in the East and West about Ouroboros puppet masters being behind Imperial/Republican governments, and would not stop the territorial dispute over Crossbell. The Septian Church has remained unblemished in the public eye in 1204. It has not gone through civil war, it has not had members of the clergy publically defect to serve the Zemurian Alliance and take sides in war. Even outing the existence of Ouroboros would leave the Church in a position to increase its influence in assuaging the fears of people. This could very well change if any information regarding Weissman is seen by the population.
And so a deal is made: In return for Weissman never being mentioned in any publications for the public, the church becomes responsible for guaranteeing Crossbell’s neutrality and independence, officially to keep anything like the Azure Tree from appearing again in Crossbell. Off the record, it is to make sure that business and trade continues as usual in a restored Crossbell city, and to remove a source of public conflict between the Republic and the Empire. A completely neutral Crossbell would help calm tensions between the nations, and the Empire being willing to provide technology to the Republic in the name of fighting Ouroboros wouldn’t hurt.
It seems almost unbelievable at first glance that Osborne would ever give up Crossbell of his free will – but he is the same man who is willing to negotiate with President Rocksmith to prevent conflict between their nations. And giving up Crossbell for larger stakes in the game that Osborne is playing isn’t out of the question. Of course, that leaves the question as to what Osborne’s game is all about and what the ending looks like. And to determine what kind of an antagonist he is in the overall scheme of things.
But that is another theory for another day.