Submitted by BronzeFrog
Don’t you love artifacts? I love artifacts! Every scientist loves artifacts! They don’t like the church because of the articles and laws governing artifacts, but that’s all just a side issue.
And for some reason, just about everyone has lost the knowledge of how they exactly work and how to make them, despite being really lovable. The ancients must have been nuts not to pass their knowledge down or really really lazy!
Or were they?
This has been on my mind for a long time, about those Zemurian civilizations. It’s not just artifacts that most people think of, like flutes and staves and lances and Olivier’s artiphone. Remember archaisms. Remember the language for autonomous programs in the archaisms. Remember the ability to create seemingly data crystals that can last over a thousand years without falling apart or data being degraded. Remember structures like the Liber Ark.
We’re talking about an extremely broad swath of hyper advanced knowledge that, in a few short decades, was nothing more than the Dark Ages.
Well, that’s why it’s called the Great Collapse, and the loss of the Sept-Terrion is attributed to it. But that, to me, has always been a very incomplete explanation of whatever caused knowledge and know-how to evaporate like all so much water in a volcano.
Take for example what happened with the Aureole. Since SC, we’ve known that the Resistance Group had the knowledge to construct facilities such as the tetracyclic towers and the sealed grounds under Grancel. But with the release of Sky 3rd in english, we learned that the group knew enough to build the Arca of Recluse, which is very much an artifact as we tend to think of.
Now, there is a case that could be made about how the group figured that in order to truly seal the Aureole away for all time, all knowledge about artifacts and technology would have to be forgotten so that the first barrier and second barriers would never be breached, let alone comprehended.
But then how do we explain what happened to the knowledge of the civilization in Crossbell which, it is confirmed, absolutely did not want to forget anything at all about their Sept-Terrion? Or the rest of the ancient civilizations?
Besides, this is all evading the issue. Celeste left behind the data crystals with knowledge, as the intended point of contact for the future explaining as to why the Aureole should be left as is. Those can only be accessed with technology.
It’s true that the loss of the Liber Ark and the Aureole would cause more than quite a bit of civilization rattling in Liberl of old, but the Sept-Terrion and artifacts (other than the Gospel) are two separate issues. They did not want to rely on the Sept-Terrion, but what is stopping the group from continuing to utilize artifacts and passing down knowledge?
Something is missing here. And maybe it’s because of how I view the Great Collapse – cascading failures and disasters cumulating into one giant mess that leaves humanity bereft of the past – but the loss of the Sept-Terrion doesn’t explain how the knowledge of why artifacts work was lost.
Let’s go back to Second Chapter. Remember what Kevin had to say during the trip across Valleria Lake to the Ouroboros base?
Holding absolute power gives people a warped sort of confidence, erases their ability to control themselves. They can’t resist the seduction of power and inevitably use the artifact for…nothing good.
That sounds pretty in line what what happened with Mayor Dalmore. And with what happened with Comrade G. And a few other examples of people in games that haven’t been released in English yet. And given what we know about Weissman as a member of the Congregation for the Sacraments and how much he dealt with artifacts, it’s not a stretch to think that Weissman had maybe a few too many close up and personal encounters with them.
But at the same time, according to Celeste D. Auslese in 3rd, the Aureole had been around for several thousand years, as had been the ancient civilization. From what we knew, just being around artifacts and using them by itself was not something that caused people to go mad en masse – that part can be blamed on the Aureole and not specifically the Gospels or any other technology on the Ark. And Kiseki has never been a series where a civilization will just simply shrug its shoulders over multitudes of people with infinite cosmic power going nuts left and right and let it go on and on for thousands of years.
So it’s theorizing time ahoy!
The information and knowledge over artifacts wasn’t simply forgotten.
It was deliberately erased and as many artifacts (and archaisms) as possible were destroyed in what was the final act of the Great Collapse, the point of no return. And this was not the act of a few individuals or a small group. This took place over the entire continent.
Close to the start of the Septian calendar, small aberrations and undesired effects started appearing with the use of artifacts. Almost unnoticeable at first, they grew slowly in rate of appearance and severity. Items like the Spear of Loa were originally used to strengthen and heal the body, but began to add even sharper nails and permanently larger muscles to the user. The artifact that transformed Elmer into a flesh eating monster was originally used to cure the infirm and elderly, to re-establish proper metabolism among patients that were weak. Even Olivier’s artiphone was originally just for communicating with the same model of artifacts.
While (simple) orbments as modern society would know them were unaffected, artifacts were so prominent at this point that life without them would’ve been fairly unthinkable even with all the problems appearing with their functions.
Things changed after all the Sept-Terrion were no longer accessible by man, and when just about every last archaism began to go berserk and start the killing. And I believe that artifacts began to truly have a negative effect on the mental state of their users, as Kevin states. The unscrupulous began to be corrupted. The moral people still had to fight darker impulses every single time they picked up an artifact. It was like a homicidal virus had infected every last piece of technology that humankind interacted with.
And so began a short war against technology, for survival itself. One that humanity won over the half razed outposts of civilization, half mad with fear and horror against technology and its caretakers. And that, after all the other traumatic events of the time and the general chaos, is how man remained anti-technology long enough for just about everyone to forget what exactly had happened and why.
Now for the actually important question: Why would this happen at that time?
My guess involves corruption of the function of the artifacts and archaisms through some kind of malign influence, as well them drawing on more than just orbal energy, which is why orbments cannot be the equals of artifacts so long as they just rely on orbal energy.
As for what that malign influence is, well, I can’t exactly decide on what that is. What it is, it isn’t as strong as it was before during the Great Collapse, but it still can reach out to people who spend lots of time with artifacts, which is ultimately why they are isolated as much as possible from other people inside the facilities of the Septian Church.
Of course, this whole theory of mine leaves open many many questions, not the least about the Thirteen Factories and how they are able to get around the whole “archaism goes homicidally crazy” instead of doing what they they want. Personally I believe that old Doctor Novartis has made a few deals of his own with the malign influence I speak of as has the Grandmaster of Ouroboros, but that, along with my own theories regarding the Society will have to wait for another day and more information.