This is one of two theories that has been submitted by Bronze Frog from Gamefaqs.
The First Children, the birth of the Ironbloods. The enormous chimera of a theory about part of Osborne’s plan for CS3 that goes to go all over the place. It’s going to take a lot of explaining, because I believe that nothing happens in a vacuum with this series that identifies with strong world building.
The rest is put behind the cut.
We start with a theory that before the Hundred Days War in 1192, Osborne was mentoring Rufus and two other teenagers to lead Erebonia and take action against the plots of its enemies.
But before I explain further, we go further back in history. Calvard, Crossbell and IRL history that is.
The Crossbell games have some info about the Republic of Calvard, in that it became the Republic about 100 years ago, and it was a messy transition according to a reporter in Ao no Kiseki, chapter 4. Conspiracies, assassinations, the works.
In a quick detour over Crossbell, it’s full of historical sites where battles and graveyards can date back to the Dark Ages. And over history, it’s not hard to imagine Calvard and Erebonia fighting over the area, on and off simply because of Great Power rivalry. The maps of Zemuria that we have divide Calvard from Erebonia with mountain ranges except for a few spots. Crossbell is one entryway for invasion into either nation.
So, I believe the conflict transformed from being about nationalism, territory and influence when the old government of Calvard was overthrown for a democracy. It became a war of ideology, the old order vs the revolution, a war that ended up looking like both sides were fighting aggressively for their own survival. Not unlike what happened with the First French Republic and the rest of Europe, and who can forget the Napoleonic Wars? No matter what they may have thought of their Calvardian counterparts, the Erebonian nobility must’ve been absolutely terrified of the thought of the revolution reaching their lands. And the Calvardian people must’ve been pretty scared over the thought of foreign intervention in their own affairs.
One brutal conflict later, the state of Crossbell is born circa 1134. And in all probability, it was the least costly end to the war for both the Empire and the Republic. But when the armies stop marching, that does not mean that the hostilities are over. They simply transfer some of the heat over to different venues like Nord, to different arenas such as the realm of public opinion.
Enter the Orbal Revolution in this precarious climate. 1150, the same time that Giliath Osborne was born.
While the Orbal revolution has improved the lives of people in Zemuria, there’s a very specific effect it has had on military and combat ready forces.
More than just communication, more than just armaments, more than just innovation, it has magnified the importance of skill. More than ever before, for an officer, or a bracer, or a jaeger to make a difference in battle, they must train their bodies, their minds, their spirits, and their knowledge. They must have the ability to adapt to new technology, learn new strategies and crafts, train with new arts and ever evolving weapons, and be ready to fight another person who has gone through the same rigors, the same intensity of training.
It is a world where obsolesce of any kind is a very serious weakness, where any advantage possible must be sought out, where any opening must be taken. And like Colonel Alan Richard saw, it is a world where information becomes a treasure, where the right spy can make all the difference in the world.
Let’s go back to Calvard and Crossbell. With books like Gambler Jack and Gambler Jack 2 as a reference, Calvard has been a hotbed of intrigue for a while now, with the immigration crisis being one more source of fuel for the fire. Politicians, spies and mobsters are everywhere, jockeying against one another for whatever advantage they may gain while society is transforming day by day. It’s a chaotic situation, and given information from Zero and Ao, Crossbell is not different. There are incidents such as in 1189 where an airship crashed under suspicious circumstances, when the family of a victim leaned towards Crossbell joining once and for all with one of its great neighbors.
And then I remembered what Joshua said in First Chapter: That he had once cut the throat of a cabinet member. That he had killed soldiers and had bombed his targets.
And given what could be guessed from SC and what was said in the 3rd , we know that he was in Crossbell at least for one Ouroboros mission. The “Hayworth” family is from there, after all.
And if the Society was active in Crossbell, it’s not a leap to think that they were in Calvard as well for their missions. That national cabinet member has to have been from somewhere, after all. And events like that are guaranteed to draw attention, one way or another, even in 10 mira novels.
Let’s turn to Osborne for a second. We have a general idea on when he left the military to become the Chancellor, around the end of the 100 Days War. And we know he was at Thors. Assuming he was around 19 years old when he graduated (call it 1169 or 70), he could have been in the army for more than two decades, which is a pretty sizeable amount of time for a career.
And we know of his “Children” and their talents. For example, who taught Rufus military strategy and how to deceive the Noble Alliance and Ouroboros for how many years in a row?
It’s either Osborne or Thors to point to, and my mira’s on Blood and Iron. The same goes for the rest of the Ironbloods who learned a very great deal from the Chancellor.
I believe that excellence is pure habit, people become what they do repeatedly, just like how Zane mentioned kotow during Second Chapter. You cannot teach without experience and perspective. It’s the emphasis on how important information is, on the right spy that makes me believe that Osborne was involved in a secret agent initiative during his days as an officer.
Against Calvard is a given, what with all the chaos going on. Against the Erebonian nobility of the time, well… I’m comfortable in saying that Osborne was not (publically) a reformist or a revolutionary while he was in the army. It must have been a very unpopular position to take in those days when Calvard was held up as an example of how political change could lead to dangerous revolutions and ruin of the noble class, a danger to those who were given power over their lessers or what have you.
So we return to the beginning of this submission (finally!). I believe that Osborne would have had almost zero opportunities to secretly teach or associate with Rufus during his days as the Chancellor due to the fact that Rufus would’ve been almost of age to go to Thors. As the heir of Duke Albarea, he would probably be under a lot of scrutiny to live up to his name, and naturally many people would be watching his movements. Even just greeting Osborne during those days would be examined and combed through for any sign of approval.
So Osborne must have been discretely training Rufus before becoming the Chancellor. When the 100 Days War breaks out, it is on grounds that are suspicious to anyone. Liberl has no motive for Hamel, but what else is there to do except hunt the truth and find the enemy who would seek to harm the citizens of Erebonia?
First step is to find the dropout jaegers who did the deed, find out why they were hired and who hired them. Erebonia is a big place, and the culprits, including Weissman are ruthless enough to permanently terminate the contract. But we know that Osborne trains his children well enough to go undercover, to seek out the guilty no matter how well they hide.
According to Loewe in Second Chapter, the majority of the truth came out near the end of the war. The truth was suppressed, and most of the guilty were executed. This is something that Vita alludes to in the Infernal Castle, and where Sara states that Osborne was involved in dealing with the aftermath of the incident. And mentioned in a sourcebook from Falcom (Sept Archive), this was the same time that Osborne’s association with the Black Factory began, along with his new life as the Chancellor.
I theorize that Rufus began his mission at this time, becoming the double agent within what became the Noble Alliance. And if he had been involved in finding the truth during the war, the cover up of the truth can serve to cover his tracks as well as any association with Osborne. He is, for all intents and purposes to the world, the next Duke of Bareahard.
We come to the present. According to Instructor Thomas, Ouroboros WILL return. Taking into account what Osborne knows and has been informed on by his Ironbloods and intelligence network, it would be massively out of character for him not to expect Ouroboros to return with a vengeance against the man who repelled them. Instructor Thomas even says that Osborne will continue spinning his webs against Ouroboros.
We know what his solution to the Civil War was, a double agent. Given his long association with the Society, plus having gained enough information on his side (from someone…) to locate and control of one of their Factories, I am theorizing that part of his solution to Ouroboros’s threat against himself is a double agent, and a spy. And who is this double agent?
It’s Mcburn, and that will be a long and involved theory of itself.