What are they really after?
I’ve been sitting on this one for a long while because it’s a basic assumption that underlies a lot of my thinking on Ouroboros and their motivations but with the news that Sen III is supposed to shed more light on the issue (and now that Falcom has started releasing screenshots and bits of new information) I figure I should put it down in writing before the game comes out.
Setting the stage
Obviously Ouroboros wants the Sept-Terrion and it’s implied that they need all of them. Our biggest clue for what they’re after is what they’ve named their master plan: Orpheus. The original myth of Orpheus is about a descent into the underworld to bring back the soul of someone who died tragically. The obvious impulse is thus to assume that the aim of Orpheus is to resurrect something or someone. Specifically, I believe that Ouroboros is attempting to resurrect Aidios. I’m also firmly in the camp that the Grandmaster is Aidios. First, a rundown of why we think Aidios and the Grandmaster are one and the same:
- Ouroboros Report revealed that the Grandmaster is female. She has a very soothing voice.
- Weissmann implies in SC and the Grandmaster confirms in The 3rd that she has some form of prescience. She foresaw to some extent what Weissmann was going to do and allowed him to proceed because she believed it to be necessary for the world as a whole.
- The Grandmaster regrets all the sacrifices made in the name of the Gospel Plan, even regretting that someone like Weissmann died.
- The Grandmaster has a ‘Law’ that Enforcers have free will, even in extreme scenarios.
- Campanella’s entire manner of speaking completely changes when he’s talking to the Grandmaster, from the level of politeness he uses (extreme) to the way his voice becomes much softer.
- The Grandmaster appears in the Celestial Globe as a glowing mass of light suspended atop a monolith. The 3rd shows her receiving Aureole directly from Campanella and Loewe Monogatari shows Kernviter appear from that mass of light when it is presented to Loewe. It seems likely that the light we see isn’t just a representation of the Grandmaster but it actually is her.
A lot of those things sound rather like the attributes of a divine figure with an understanding of events on a global scale. So, why is the Society ‘resurrecting’ someone who I think is already alive? Well, that’s where the Sept-Terrion come into play.
Seven Lights of Creation
We know that the Sept-Terrion each grants absolute dominion over one of the element that make up the world and that what they can do is explicitly deemed miraculous. We also know that they are to an extent self-aware and can act on their own; Aureole produced its miracles without regard for the well-being of the Liber-Ark’s society and defended itself when that society tried to shut it down. Demiourgos is explicitly even more ‘alive’ than the other six and possessed a conscience. I think it’s also significant that Demiourgos took the form of a girl in its original appearance and its reincarnation required a human vessel. The Black Records speak of a battle between giant gods which I believe recalls a time when two Sept-Terrion (or the societies possessing them) warred against one another. The most significant element for my theory is the line that the Goddess could do nothing to intervene except cry in vain.
Now, Aidios is referred to as ‘ruling the seven lights that govern all creation’ in two S-Craft incantations, both of which take the form of prayers to Aidios. The first of these is Kloe’s Sanctus Nova and the second is Alfin’s Sacred Circle. The wording in each is identical, suggesting it’s a commonly known precept of the church and similar language appears in dialogue at other points in the series. I think that in creating the Sept-Terrion, what she did was take from herself the power to control each element and instill them, along with some part of herself, in each treasure. Thus, Aureole doesn’t just grant the power to control Space, it grants Aidios’ own power to control that element. In the process of creating her treasures, she sacrificed her own power, leaving her in a greatly diminished state. This would explain why Aidios could do nothing to stop the conflict between the two ‘gods’ in the Black Records; she no longer had the power to affect the world directly because she had given all of it away. This also explains why, if the Grandmaster is Aidios, she can’t simply ‘take back’ the Sept-Terrion at will. She doesn’t have the power to do so herself. The Grandmaster’s belief in what could be thought of as ‘extreme free will’ in her Enforcers might also represent a sort of philosophical or moral constraint that Aidios is bound by.
The birth of Ouroboros
Taking it all together, I believe that Aidios realized she was wrong to grant the Sept-Terrion to humanity before it was ready to use that power responsibly. The calamities that followed and were collectively known as the Great Collapse showed her that she had made a mistake. But how could she rectify it? With no real power of her own she would need intermediaries to find and collect the Sept-Terrion and return them to her, so she could regain her original power and also keep them out of humanity’s hands. Thus, she founded Ouroboros to do what she could not. This neatly explains the name of Ouroboros’ master plan, why they’re collecting the Sept-Terrion, why they need all of them (and are unconcerned that they didn’t get Azure Demiourgos as long as they have the means to regain the original in the future) and why Campanella is so respectful of the Grandmaster and people like Arianrhod are a part of the Society in the first place.
I also have a suspicion that there’s more to Orpheus than just restoring Aidios and there’s some additional reason she wants her power back. I think it has to do with the Grandmaster’s belief that what Ouroboros is doing is for the good of the world, connected with the Grandmaster’s ability to see the future in some way. But that’s a theory for another day.