As I was re-reading Black Records yesterday, I got sidetracked into a new interpretation of the first volume. Consider it a modern re-reading of a classic tale.
Throughout Trails of Cold Steel II, Vita Clotilde is going on and on about a story. After the Azure Tree appears, she proclaims that “this story’s finale is bound to be one to remember!” Before she warps to the Infernal Castle, she says she has to “guide this story to its grand finale.” Now, with her return in Sen no Kiseki III, she returns with the announcement that the story begins anew with a different cast. What is this story she’s going on about?
Not what she had in mind
Let’s cite the first Black Record for a bit. Words between brackets are additions or replacements of words based on the original text. You can reach the original text here; my old translation can be found here.
In the beginning, there were two [gargantuan] gods.
One boasted unrivaled courage,
the other unparalleled fortitude.
They descended from the heavens with their kin,
and it was upon the dark land below that they first met [by chance].
Vita’s goal is to re-enact the first Black Record, which took place before the Septian Calendar, an era where Sept-Terrion were still in the possession of mankind. We have been thinking that these two gods are the Sept-Terrion, but the truth is actually between the lines.
The two gargantuan gods are two Divine Knights. In Vita’s re-telling of this historic epic, the Ashen Knight Valimar and the Azure Knight Ordine. She orchestrated a scenario where the two Divine Knights clash like the two divine giants in the books.
As Class VII arrives in the Vermillion Throne, she welcomes them “to our tale’s grand finale”.
[…] Their opposing natures incompatible,
the two were drawn irresistibly into battle,
and thus began a struggle that shook heaven and earth.
The Goddess and the spirits’ laments were for naught.
As the land quaked, the skies were torn asunder,
and the gods’ kin could only tremble in fear.
After Crow loses the showdown with Rean. Throughout two games, we learnt that their opposing natures were incompatible and the two were drawn irresistibly into battle. Vita — visibly surprised — tells him to take it easy and restore is mana. Crow apologises and Vita tells him “it’s not what [she] had in mind”.
But what did she have in mind? She reminds that Cayenne that she was solely present to “prepare this stage for its participants” with “no other interest than the battle between the ‘Azure’ and the ‘Ashen’.” We never learn the real purpose of the battle, since Cayenne transformed from a condescending prick into a toddler whose lolly just got stolen.
After [a thousand days], their clash came to an end.
…But it was an end of mutual defeat.
Their power spent, the empty shells of the two celestial titans were flung into the furthest reaches of the dark land.
All that remained were terrible: their kin…
That’s where Vita masterful direction of the play derailed: it did not end in mutual defeat. The Ashen Awakener, Rean Schwarzer, proved to be more apt at piloting his Divine Knight than the more experienced Crow, an outcome Vita had not foreseen. But that was okay; Crow could replenish his energy and simply try again.
What Vita was hoping for was a long battle. Maybe not the thousand days as chronicled in the Black Record, but enough to deplete the mana of both Divine Knights. That would flung the Knight to the furthest reaches of Erebonia. Leaving behind their kin: their guides, in this case the witches Vita and Emma, and in Valimar’s case its subcontractors. Oh, right, and one more thing:
…and the Great Power.
The Sept-Terrion of Fire.