This started from something I was 100% convinced to be complete lunacy. It was to the point that I wasn’t entirely willing to even bring it up to anyone because of how ridiculous it sounded. However, I eventually talked it out with Guan, and in our attempts to break the theory, we kept finding more things to even add to it.
It was frustrating!
However, at this point, with everything else in mind, I feel that I can put this theory out, and state that Falcom has been hiding something big under our noses this whole time.
There are, of course, endgame spoilers for the entire Crossbell duology in this theory. Be warned! (There is also a Cold Steel 2 spoiler in here, because it involves a topic that’s difficult to talk about without referencing others related to the topic.)
Relationship with Wazy
The first, and most important aspect of this is Wald’s complex relationship with Wazy. While they definitely have a rivalry, and you don’t get to interact with Wald directly nearly as much as you do Wazy, you can tell a lot from Wazy’s reactions throughout Ao no Kiseki- especially when the situation involving Wald is brought up.
The two have been intertwined in one way or another for two years at this point, before it all fell apart abruptly in Ao no Kiseki.
An aspect of Wazy that I believe we’ve come to see is that I doubt he would even bother to give someone too much attention and time of day if he didn’t respect them enough to do so. While he is a complete troll, we also know that he does have a good heart underneath his attitude and gang-leader reputation. When he first arrived to Crossbell, his interaction with Wald was most likely just to get an ‘in’ to holding a reputation in downtown and become the leader of the Testaments.
However, two years is a long time, and we know that Wald never let go of that defeat. But at the same time, we also know that Wazy- for some reason- never chose to ‘put him down,’ so to speak. Not until that rainy day in Ao no Kiseki.
What really stood out to me, though, is the fact that before that, Wazy spoke with Wald at length to talk to him about knowing that their place as the leaders of the Testaments and the Saber Vipers are not permanent, and that they need to prepare those who follow them for them to move on.
This implies to me that not only did Wazy eventually care enough to bother to tell this to Wald, but he knew that Wald would- at some point- have to move on from Crossbell. As we have seen from Ein, it is also possible for someone with a stigma to sense another with one, whether it has manifested or not.
Even at the endgame events, between Wazy and Wald- while they are talking together in the territory, you still get a bit of an odd relationship between the two regardless. Despite the weight of the situation, they kind of joke between each other before the conversation turns serious.
When entering the territory, Wazy even comments on how a “normal person” can cause this kind of appearance – for some reason, it implies that Wazy’s either surprised at Wald’s intensity for his desire for power, or maybe there’s something more there about it.
However, what I think is the most interesting quote of all of this comes from Wazy after the battle, and it was that he could sense the truth of Wald’s power, and that he could be much stronger with training.
This is an interesting aspect, especially considering that Wald leaves with Wazy to go to Arteria after the end of Ao no Kiseki, with the information that we have being that it was related to dealing with the after-effects that Wald may experience. The ending, Crossbell Archives, and Sept-Archives all confirm that at some point during the two years between their departure, and before they return to Crossbell, Wald has joined the Gralsritter.
An Impact on Gnosis
At the endgame point of Ao no Kiseki, the SSS discovers that Wald did not, in fact, take the red gnosis, which caused the demonification of the various Revache members in Zero no Kiseki, and Ernest in the prologue of Ao no Kiseki.
This was not a known factor of the blue pills, from what was talked about in Zero no Kiseki, and even in Ao no Kiseki- this implies that there’s something with Wald that reacted differently with the gnosis, or that there was a different make of the blue pills. Either seems likely, of course.
After this exchange, Tio points out that the demonification was caused by the red gnosis, and asks him how this could have happened.
Wald’s answer to Tio was that Mariabell said he was “suitable.”
While Wald talks big about his strength, what we know of it is only from Wald’s perspective at that time. We don’t know the full details of what Mariabell meant by Wald being suitable other than his assumption at the time, and at the time, he was pretty power mad over having the means and opportunity to take Wazy down in battle.
Additionally, this is stated in Crossbell Archives about Wald using the Gnosis:
The Numbers Game
This may be completely inconsequential, but I feel this is an interesting aspect of things to look at, for the series as a whole, and places a unique perspective on this whole grand thing.
This is pretty much a ‘game of ratios’ on this statement.
Starting with Kondo, the percentage for the series being completed is at about 60%. Now, let’s look at the numbers of Anguis and Dominion revealed and compare it to that- especially because, logically, we will probably actually have all twelve Dominion at the end of the series.
If you look at a ratio of 4 of 7 Anguis known, that’s approximately 57.14%.
Now, let’s look at the Dominion, based on what we know now. We know of the first, second, fifth, eighth, and ninth with full certainty as of this point. 5 of 12 becomes 41.6%.
If you adjust up to six, accounting for the theory that Gaius also has a stigma, we land at an even 50%. However, if we were to add a seventh…. it becomes 58.3%.
Both of these numbers means that if we were to take into account that there are seven Dominion known as of this point, it means that we see just about 60%- the same as with the Anguis and the progression of the games themselves.
In the section on the Septian Church in Sept-Archives, Wald is listed as ‘Rank Unknown.’ I find this a little strange. Especially in the Ouroboros section, ‘hakai,’ who had previous no known rank either, was revealed to be an Anguis.
Besides, if Wald was meant to be a squire, which is what everyone assumes- I did too until I started thinking too much on this- then why not just say it instead of hiding it like this?
In the process of discussing this theory with Guan, we had a pretty hearty debate over Wald’s clothing seen in the post-Ao images that have come up. Though the image of Wald is super tiny in the ‘Two Years Later’ image posted above, here are two images from Ao no Kiseki’s ending:
There has been such a variety in Gralsritter uniforms, that it’s been hard to state specifically one way or another with Wald’s clothing in the above images.
I’ve made an image side by side of all of the Gralsritter that we’ve seen in their uniform in-game. The only exceptions here is that we do not have full body artwork of both Wazy and Abbas in their uniforms. Additionally, Thomas is not included as we do not have a full shot of him in uniform yet, as well.
Additionally on this topic, the materials book that came with 3rd’s limited edition set has the image shown below- an image of the establishment art of the ‘squires’ – most likely Marcus and Cecil, at this point? But if you look at the scenes with Ein in her Merkabah, the individuals at the controls for her are also dressed in a similar fashion, but we don’t know their ranks.
However, if we were to go with the art presented to us- if you look at Kevin’s art as a squire, as well as the others assisting Kevin, who are also confirmed squires, Wald’s clothing is not what a squire would be wearing.
On Kevin’s design specifically- though when looking at the other artwork, he appears to be an outlier of sorts in this. (Kevin’s an outlier in everything, though, so this isn’t that big of a surprise is it? ;D) However, when considering the ‘outlier’ nature of it, if you look at the details of the design, it still does not match up with the aspects of design that remain consistent on all of the male Dominion uniforms.
But when you look at Wald’s uniform, you can see those very consistencies in his design.
That Stupid Comic
Here, I’ll be referencing back to Sept-Archive, and the second time the book dodged revealing Wald’s rank.
All of the artwork in the Sept-Archive book has a little exchange between characters next to it.
The image that’s for the section above is called ‘Two Years Later,’ and has a small comic to the side with Lloyd, Wald, Randy and Wazy. While Randy and Wazy end up commenting on the wanted poster in the image, it’s the first two parts that are important for this case: Lloyd and Wald’s exchange.
Wald: Ugh, why should I even tell you?!
Unlike the earlier ‘rank unknown’ omission, this particular instance is unique in the fact that in this comic, we have a straight up dodge written out on a direct question about the very thing we’re wondering.
What gets me with this particular part is that having it or the other on their own wouldn’t have really stood out to me. But both of them showing up in the book kind of compounds on each other to lend weight to this even more. Additionally, the exchange is a pretty egregious dodge, and Wazy makes no attempt to clear it up later, instead commenting on Randy’s statement.
Conclusion – aka the ‘tl;dr’
The end statement is, this theory brings together everything to point out that perhaps what had happened with Wald was not just his own individual power, but the potential that he may have a stigma and that it interacted in a way that was not expected with the Gnosis that he was given by Mariabell.
There have been some interesting statements that I have seen that he ‘got away’ from the actions he caused in Crossbell during Ao no Kiseki- such as the derailment of the train and the attack on the old downtown area during the Red Constellation’s attack on the city.
However, if he was taken in to the church and they made the discovery that a stigma interacted with the drug, then the church would absolutely overlook what he has done in return for finding a new Dominion. Additionally, I would suspect that they would also protect him from any repercussions of what he did during Ao no Kiseki, simply because he is a Dominion. As we saw in Sora no Kiseki the 3rd, even Ein stated at one point after the accident with Rufina that, while Rufina was an extremely valuable asset to the Septian Church, her death was given value by the manifestation of Kevin’s stigma.
I suspect that if we ran into anything of the sort involving other national incidents or government requests, the church would probably put their foot down and prevent said Dominion being taken away from them.
As a result, I suspect that we’ve had another Dominion revealed under our noses for the past six years, in the form of Wald’s appearance in Ao no Kiseki’s ending.