Death seems to be nothing but a minor setback for Awakeners in Erebonia. They fall and rise again. Perhaps that is why they were called Risers in the Japanese version in the first place.
However, it seems that certain terms and conditions apply for an Awakener to stay undead. For example, Dreichels, former pilot of Valimar, lived a normal live until he passed away around the age of 70. Not peacefully, mind you. He has had that darkness following him around for since his enthronement 40 years, mumbling the same lines over and over again.
Now, it is up to us to figure out what these terms and conditions are made of. I hope we can have a fruitful discussion in the comments.
Rean, the Ashen Chevalier
Starting with our protagonist, Rean Schwarzer. Or ‘Rean’, as his father likes to refer to him. When he was about 5 years old, his parents’ house was raided by a group of jaegers. As the house burnt down, a piece of debris falling down pierced through Rean’s chest, almost hitting his heart.
That’s where the scar came from. Within the next three months, for one reason or another his father transplanted his own heart into Rean’s and bestowed custody over his son to the family he was once adopted into himself.
Crow, the Azure Chevalier
The next Awakener we meet and whose arc had been planned since FC and SC is Crow, classmate of Rean and Erebonia’s local terrorist. He dedicated his teenage years to work toward the assassination of the chancellor, whom he finally got to shoot through the heart during his national address.
Little did Crow know that said chancellor had transplanted his heart into his son 12 years prior, meaning he faked his death until Crow met his own demise. Shielding Rean from Vermillion Apocalypse, he was pierced through the chest by its oversized tail and died on Rean’s lap.
Arianrhod, the Steel Maiden
A third Awakener that met a surprisingly similar fate as Crow is Lianne Sandlot, who goes about under the name of Arianrhod these days. Arianrhod, whose name means ‘silver wheel’, became the pilot of the Silver Knight.
She fought alongside Dreichels during the War of the Lions, and, like Crow, died as she shielded Dreichels from the Vermillion Apocalypse’s attack. Roselia took her to the Hexen Clan’s village, where she did not decompose and even revived after roughly half a year.
Rutger, the Jaeger King
Rutger Claussell died in his duel with Baldur Orlando, which both lost. Still, his company commanders Xeno and Leonidas worked toward “bringing back” their boss when Class VII infiltrated the Infernal Castle during the last day of S.1204.
Rutger pilots the Palatinate Knight that was originally destroyed by, once again, the Vermillion Apocalypse during the War of the Lions. After we have seen the melted Testa-Rossa being restored to its former glory, it is not unthinkable the scraps of Zector were enough to put it back in order.
Cedric, the Smug Bastard
These four Awakeners or their Divine Knights have felt the wrath of Testa-Rossa, either during the War of the Lions or the October Campaign (yes, that is how the Erebonian Civil War is recorded in imperial history text books). The Testa-Rossa was once cursed by Zoro-Agruga as it bled miasma; it now only reacts to the Arnor bloodline and turns into the Vermillion Apocalypse as soon as it does.Until recently, apparently.
Now Crown Prince Cedric is able to board it without it goes completely berserk. Is it because Rean and Crow smashed it to smithereens in the Infernal Castle, or is it because the Nameless One that once absorbed Zoro-Agruga’s miasma – the cause of the curse – was slaughtered by the Sword of Demise? That would explain why Cedic, so excited to hop on-board, waited until the Holy Beast was dead before boarding.
Osborne, the Blood and Iron Chancellor
And then there is the greatest enigma of the bunch: Ishmelga, and its charismatic Awakener Giliath Osborne. Ishmelga is absent from records regarding both the War of the Lions and the Warring Clans during the Dark Ages. While maybe not stronger per se, the Black Knight is definitely the special one of the bunch.
As far as we know, Osborne grew up like a normal boy until he resorted to esoteric practices to transfer his heart into that of his son. From that point onward, Osborne becomes shady. We know we already had contact with the Black Workshop and Ouroboros around that time.
So, putting these six together, what do we (not) know:
- Divine Knights may keep their Awakeners alive (Rean), but being within does not guarantee their lives (Crow)
- Crow’s body was taken in by the Gnomes to be revived, Lianne’s revived on her own after six months of death without any decomposition.
- Just becoming an Awakener once did not grant Dreichels eternal life, Rutger did not become an Awakener until after his death and resurrection.
- If Dreichels’ natural death followed because he ended his contract with Valimar and sealing him away, did the Gnomes take in Crow to revive him or to subsequently put him under a spell?
- Emma guided Rean, Vita guided Crow, Roselia guided Lianne – who guided Osborne, Rutger and Cedric and/or did they even do the trials?
- The previous pilot of Zector was a jaeger hired by Prince Lucius, now once again jaeger pilots the Palatinate Knight, so what is the tie between Dreichels and Rean?
- What happened to the curse on Testa-Rossa?