A post submitted by Aliseyun from the Falcom Discord!
NOTE: Please note that this theory, while not a continuation of my previous theory “The Whereabouts of Water”, does reference it multiple times, and so it is suggested you read it first.
As has been shown many times throughout the series, the world of Zemuria is rife with secrets. One particular point of interest is the seven treasures bestowed by Aidios, which are an integral part of the overarching plot. We have seen the space and mirage treasures in Liberl and Crossbell respectively. Furthermore, we know there are two treasures in Erebonia, which are speculated to be Fire and Wind. The earth treasure is likely in Calvard, and as I have asserted in my past theory, the water treasure may reside in the Pillar of Salt. This leaves only the treasure of time, and I propose its location is Arteria, the holy seat of the Septian Church.
The Structure of the Church
Before I go into speculation about the time treasure, I would like to talk about the structure of the church. The Septian Church, much like the Roman Catholic Church, is led by a pope. Below the pope however, the church is split into three sections. The first is the Congregation for Divine Worship, which is responsible for the rituals of the church, and represents the cathedrals and chapels across Zemuria. Next is the Congregation of the Sacraments, which is responsible for the retrieval of artifacts. The last section is the Palal Guard.
You might be asking yourself “Why does this matter?” Well what matters is the number of branches, three. In regards to the Septian Church, there is another instance that we see three things, and that is the emblem of the church, containing three symbols on the outer ring, those being sun, moon, and star. In Zero no Kiseki we witness a play titled “Golden Sun, Silver Moon”, which is a story about 2 clans, the Sun and Night, who have a Sun Princess and a Moon Princess respectively. The Princesses are meant to travel to the Altar of the Stars and compete against each other with dance. In this sense, Star is the neutral clan, which serves the Goddess most closely. Among the branches of the Septian Church, one of them has shown a specific affinity with the star, that being the Congregation for the Sacraments, or more appropriately, the Gralsritter. Floofy has written a theory about the connection between the Gralsritter and the Star, which you can find here.
The Temporal Grail
We have three terms we need to deal with now: Star, Grail, and Time. Luckily for us, there is something that links all three of these terms. In Sen no Kiseki II, there is a set of extremely powerful quartz you can obtain, which bestow the user with the “Lost Arts.” Each of these lost arts is based on one of the ancient elements, those being Sun, Moon, Star, Dragon, and Holy. The art of note here is the art of the Star Element, Grail Burst. The effect of Grail Burst is to effectively stop time for everyone but the user, allowing the user to act twice. To the right is the symbol displayed on the central gear during the Grail Burst animation. Notice how it is extremely similar to the symbol for the Septian Church, with the only differences being that the sun and moon are replaced with stars, as well as part of a clock circling the grail in the center. In addition to this, when grail burst activates, the gears stop. This can be symbolic of the gears inside a clock stopping, time stopping.
The Grail, something with the power to control time. Nothing would be more fitting of this title than the Sept-Terrion of Time. The center of the Septian Church’s emblem is a grail, and as I have established, grail equals time. In other words, the Sun, Moon, and Star; the three branches of the church, are guarding the time treasure. What would members of the church guard so diligently? Their leader, the Pope. If we take a look at the master art card for time, it depicts an old man and a clock, with a star in the center of that clock. The Star is the Pope’s final line of defense.
The Holy Beast of Time
Within the Church, the Papal Guard is responsible for guarding the Pope, but would they be able to fend off an attack of a supernatural nature, say the forces of Ouroboros armed with Divergent Laws? The answer is probably not. Each Sept-Terrion has a respective holy beast, a being who made a contract with Aidios to watch over the treasure and the path that humanity takes. However, a single form is not fitting to watch over someone with influence on the entire continent, and so the Holy Beast of Time split itself into twelve pieces. These pieces, when manifested, grant the wielder superhuman strength, and serve as a ticket to be inducted into one of the highest orders of the church, the Dominion of the Gralsritter. Yes, I just said that stigmata are fragments of a holy beast, and no, I am not crazy. I maintain that the beast of time is by far the strongest of the beasts, as having influence over time leads to infinite possibilities.
The Dominion may just have the strength to fight off these supernatural forces, with the first Dominion, Ein Selnate, said to be among the strongest in all of Zemuria. This explanation also allows us to answer another question: Why is the church so restrictive on Stigma research? The answer is simple; they do not want that info leaking out to the public. If people were to learn that the Gralsritter were carrying fragments of the holy beast, a force wishing to take that power for themselves may take action.