[Ed. note: This is an oldie – it’s been sitting in the draft for 1.5+ years now – but by popular demand I’ll hit the Publish button.]
Family is an important theme throughout Trails of Cold Steel and Trails of Cold Steel II. Amidst that focus, surprisingly little is said about Laura’s mother. Unless she was born out of thin air — or, say, a sword — we can assume that at one point in time Victor S. Arseid had a female partner that gave birth for Laura. Although said woman is mentioned by neither father nor daughter, she might have been present for far longer than we know.
At the end of Chapter 5 in Trails of Cold Steel, group A of Class VII fights the Nosferatu at the top floor of the Lohengrin Castle near Legram. After the fight, the mysterious orb Nosferatu was summoned through froze the movements of Class VII. At that point, an enormous lance flies by and pierces through the orb, breaking the spell cast on the Thors students. In the corner of their eyes, they spot someone walking away. For Laura, someone resembling Lianne Sandlot; for the players, someone identical to Arianrhod, the Seventh Anguis of Ouroboros.
The hypothetical connection between Arianrhod and Lianne Sandlot has been present since Ao no Kiseki, in which Elie blatantly asks the question to the blonde herself. Arianrhod congratulates Elie on spotting the resemblance and tells them that time will answer her question. Arianrhod, however, could not foresee the start of Septian Calendar 1205 and thus players are left to wonder what she might have referred to — also known as Sen no Kiseki III.
In case you haven’t put the two together, this theory argues that Lianne “the Lance Maiden” Sandlot, leader of the Eisenritter during the War of the Lions in ca. S.950; Arianrhod, the Seventh Anguis and leader of the Stahlritter in ca. S.1200; and the woman who gave birth to Laura, also known as Mrs. S. Arseid, are the same person. Well, at least in spirit.
This theory makes use of the simply fact that not a word is spoken about Laura’s mother. Who she was, what she was like or how she died — or disappeared. In Trails of Cold Steel, we learn that there are periodical patrols in the Lohengrin Castle, which have probably been a tradition in Legram since the disappearance of the Lance Maiden and her army late tenth century.
We know that Legram is built on a foundation of animism, a belief that spirits reside in all objects, both animate and inanimate. And, fundamentally, animism is built on the principle of spirit possession.
What I believe [ed. note, contrary to my most recent theory that postulates that Arianrhod is Red Moon Rose] is that the spirit of Lianne Sandlot has remained in Lohengrin Castle until it saw an opportunity to possess Mrs. S. Arseid, who visited the castle during one of the periodical patrols in the S.1980s.
Mrs. S. Arseid ceased to exist and Laura’s mother vanished from her life, never to be mentioned by her father ever again. Mrs. S. Arseid became Arianrhod. When Laura finally asked, he may have answered that she lost her life during the Hundred Days War, considering Laura’s troubled expression when talking to Beatrix in the final chapter of Trails of Cold Steel II.
What may have drawn the spirit of Lianne Sandlot to Mrs. S. Arseid is harder to say. She may have resembled her old body, making it a perfect disguise since no one would believe a warrior, who fought valiantly two centuries prior, could still be alive in the present time. She may have shared her secret with her top knight, Duvalie, explaining her outspoken disgust for Arseid family.
I’m sure both secrets will be addressed in Sen no Kiseki III and hope that the secret of Arianrhod and the secret of Laura’s mother is actually one and the same.
[Ed. note: I corrected the Japanese titles of the games to the English titles and the consistent misspelling of ‘Arianhrod’.]