Rifleman delves into the truths hidden within the series’ short stories and argues there might be a bigger connection between Agnes and Agnes than just visuals. – Hellseye47
If you haven’t read Yotaka, Hellseye, and Lattes earlier predictions and crack theories for Calvard I recommend doing so before going further. There is some overlap in my commentary, and my latter predictions will make more sense, especially If you read Hellseyes commentary on the presumed nature of the Wind Sept-Terrion.
With the game coming out in less than a week and basically all pre-release material out there for the fandom to scrutinize, it’s time to discuss one of the few remaining outstanding bits of material that the fandom has had on Calvard. Back in 2011 with Trails to Azure, there was a book series in game called Sunshine Agnes that relates the tale of the mysterious Agnes and her clumsy reporter friend Edwin, as they become mixed up in a fight for their lives against a magician seeking to steal Agnes powers.
Now a guaranteed truth of the Kiseki games is that there will be a scavenger hunt for a book series once per game to get your endgame weapons. But beyond being a standard JRPG optional MacGuffin hunt, the book series all serve a much more serious plot purpose. With one notable exception they all tell stories of present universe characters, with varying degrees of authenticity and plausibility. I’m going to break down every book series presented thus far and the degree to which we the fandom know to be “true” vs what is fictional.
Sky FC: Carnelia:
Broadly True. The story of a foul mouthed Nun (Carnelia aka the 1st Dominion Ein Selnate) and Toby (Toval Randonneur) fighting to retrieve an artifact while being on the run from a group of Jaegers.
While the twist that Carnelia dies is false, it’s generally accepted by the community that the story is truthful in that Ein Selnate and a young Toval met while the latter was attempting to illegally smuggle artifacts, and that after the conclusion of their partnership Toval joined the Bracer guild and begrudgingly assists Ein whenever she needs a favor.
Sky SC: Gambler Jack:
Truthful to the degree the fandom knows. Story of a cardsharp known as “Victory Jack” and Halle, daughter of the late professional gambler “King”, as they complete in a high stakes card game with death on the line for the loser and a loss of face for the mafia group backing them.
Now, this book is our first look at Calvard in the entire Kiseki series, and at the characters Jack and Halle. Both have appeared in pre-release info and will surely be interacted with in game. It’s probable that the story is a fairly accurate representation of what happened, since none of the pre-release info has refuted what we know nor story doesn’t possess any magical (or in Ash’s words “Occult Bullshit”) theatrics that tie it to the greater mysteries of Zemuria. It’s highly likely that both characters will serve as some sort of lore/infodump for the criminal underworld for Van and company.
Of note though is the competition between the two mobster groups led by “Won” and “Enrique” that the card game is fought on behalf of. While Won is likely connected to Heiyue and could be a stand in name for Cao Lee or some other yet to be named member, the far more interesting mobster is “Enrique” who likely is the same Enrique who formerly ran Almata, and who Gerard Dantes, head of Almata, the main promoted Kuro antagonist, murdered when he tired of his bosses failings. Additionally, Gambler Jack delves into the theme that betrayal and fear are ever present companions in the underworld, and that it could be said that Enrique lost his life because he failed to maintain the fear required of a mafia boss when Jack manages to unearth his scheming. A final bit of info in the book is the existence of a “Minister Shamrock” who seemingly serves as something of a first amongst equals amongst the underworld in regards to negotiating deals and truces.
Trails from Zero: Back Alley Glenn:
Unknown authenticity. Story set in the Principality of Remiferia about a black-market doctor, the titular Glenn who is asked to perform an impossible surgery.
It’s impossible to determine whether any of this story is true, as we have yet to visit Remiferia and the only named character (Katarina) that appears in any other Kiseki works is an Akatsuki only character, and therefore non-canon as far as we know.
Trails to Azure: Sunshine Agnes: To be discussed below
Cold Steel I: Red Moon Roselia:
Fictional with hints of truth. Set ~200 years before the start of the series in the era immediately after Dreichels passing, the main character is Alphonse, a soldier stationed in Heimdallr during a streak of grizzly murders seemingly committed by vampires that leave the victims with the potential to rise from the dead as ghouls.
This book series is the first of the Kiseki book series to be definitively proven as primarily fictional. While Rose does exist as the elder of the Hexen Witches clan and current Holy Beast of the fire Sept-Terrion she was never a Vampire or Vampire hunter in the sense the book provides. We are never shown if Alphonse or any other character in the book was a real person. The book could be seen as a more allegorical work that corresponds to Roselia’s battle against Zoro-Agruga and the other fiends and cryptids.
Cold Steel II: Gambler Jack II:
Again, Truthful as far as the fandom is aware. Jack and Halle are back in a sequel to the first books events. While spending time out at the movies, the two encounter Jacks former girlfriend Nike and another of Kings proteges Leonard. Jack and Halle are forced into a betting competition with the two after Halle is kidnapped over her ownership of the late Kings secret list of underworld contacts.
The sequel provides us with a look into more of Calvard, specifically car racing and the existence of the Rocksmith agency that was mentioned in previous games. While none of the pre-material release information for Kuro mention Nike, it’s still possible we will meet or hear mention of her at some point in game.
Cold Steel III: Heartless Edgar:
Unknown: The story of an artificial man living as a real one.
Since the story is set in the distant future, I’m not going to include it, even though it is entirely possible we will see more artificial beings like Lapis as the game goes on since it deals so far in the future.
Cold Steel IV: Three and Nine:
True and confirmed by playable characters. The Story of Three (Swin Abel) and Nine (Nadia Rayne), assassins working for Garden who escape after killing their handler, the so called “Emperor” who possess some rather unique artifacts and is rumored to be the descendant of nobility.
During Trails into Reverie, Swin and Nadia confirm the truth of the story, that they escaped Garden, and killed their handler during the escape.
Trails into Reverie: Shunran the Sharpshooter:
Unknown Authenticity. The story is based primarily around 3 new characters (Shunran, Sayu, and Dao) quest to retrieve the other half of an artifact.
Since we don’t have any background info or knowledge of Shunran and the Matagi it’s impossible to know if the story has a shred of proof, similar to Back Alley Glenn. If there is any truth to the story, it’s likely to be revealed down the road in Kuro or another release.
So out of the 8 books listed above we can confidently state 4 of the books (Carnelia, Gambler Jack I & II and 3 & 9) are truthful to a large degree, with Red Moon Rose being fictional but containing minor truths like Rose’s existence as a person. Back Alley Glenn, Heartless Edgar, and Shunran the Sharpshooter are of unknown quality as sources of lore due to the fact we have little to no knowledge of the places the story is set at this time. But I think a key takeaway is that so far, every story has possessed at least kernels of truth, and in almost half of them the stories have very few discrepancies from real Zemurian events.
From this information we can guess that when Falcom writes a book, the stories they tell are real to some degree.
So what about Sunshine Agnes?
In Sunshine Agnes, the story revolves around “Agnes” assisting her friend Edwin Arnold in becoming a reporter. During Edwin’s efforts to get hired by the local paper in Anchorville, the two become caught up a series of terrible accidents involving rogue magic caused by a fake “Magician” who has stolen the powers of a real Magician after murdering him, and who is now seeking out more Magicians to kill and steal from, unconcerned with the damage he is causing along the way.
Now something I’d like to note before going further is that the game Sunshine Agnes was introduced in, Trails to Azure, was released almost 10 years ago. This was before the CS arc turned into the monster arc with 4 games and Reverie as a “tweener” game like 3rd Chapter was for the Sky to Crossbell arcs. It’s entirely possible that whatever “plot” points for the Calvard arc that are discussed in the arc were changed dramatically since the book was written for Zero. And it’s clear a lot of the “Magicians” magic ends up being used by the developers for the Hexen Clan in Cold Steel.
Witches vs. Magicians
First, let’s break down Witches vs. Magicians. Individuals being able to use magic without the use of orbments isn’t anything new, and the Hexen Clan (Witches) for example exhibit this same abilities Agnes does, including the glowing “Golden Eyes” when using powerful magic. Both also seemingly have access to familiars that can help boost their powers. However there are some key differences that the book details, along with some in game discussions in the Cold Steel.
Firstly, it’s stated in the Cold Steel arc by the denizens of Eryn that the male members of the clan don’t possess nearly the same magical ability of the clan, if any at all. Instead the magical blood only flows through the female descendants. Clearly this rule does not apply to the false Magician Montaigne, and the late Mr. Hart. Second it is not once stated by any witch that their powers could somehow be stolen, something that is clearly done in Sunshine Agnes. Finally, there is the Cold Steel character of Beryl, who clearly possess strange abilities that the Witches remark upon numerous times throughout the game, but whom they do not recognize as one of their own. While it cannot be definitively proven, I believe it’s safe to assume that Beryl is the first Magician we encounter in the games.
More key difference between the Witches and Magicians is in how they live and the way they maintain their secret lives. For example, the Hexen Clan maintain Eryn, a secret village under the leadership of the elder Roselia, as a place where most witches and their dependents live. Outside of this village are the wandering witches, who go out into the world to gather intelligence on current affairs outside of their village (and presumably find men to bring home). Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I believe the Hexen clan also has a sense of belonging and family that is absent in Magicians. It’s difficult to explain but I’m going to try by showing an example before going further. When Vita Clotilde abandoned the Hexen Clan to work with Ouroboros, this defection was taken very badly by Roselia, Emma, and presumably the rest of the witches. It seems that “leaving” the witches clan is a rare occurrence. Additionally, the Hexen Clan seem perfectly fine with certain trustworthy outsiders knowing of their existence, with near the entirety of the Cold Steel cast and then some ending up in Eryn at some point during the story.
Compare this to Agnes and presumably Mr. Harts existence. Agnes is clearly very much alone in the world, with the only person she remotely feels any connection with being Edwin, but even when Agnes brings herself to tell Edwin the truth about her existence, she uses her powers to remove his memories immediately after. This strict adherence to secrecy and isolationism is in stark contrast to the witches, who as stated above maintain a secret society but are seemingly bound together in a more familial setting, and are perfectly willing to allow some knowledge of themselves to leak to the outside world.
I think this is where a key difference between Witches and Magicians exists. Magicians must live in isolation and secrecy due to fear of their own powers. If what Agnes and Montaigne say is true, i.e. that a Magicians powers can be stolen through murder, then it makes a lot of sense why Agnes acts the way she does, and it fits with the themes of betrayal and deceit that the Calvard arc is presenting to us so far. For example, look at how the other “occult” oriented book series in Kiseki, Red Moon Rose ends. Rose departs, but Alphonse and Lucca both know of Rose’s existence, and Alphonse even wishes for her to return specifically so that she will not remain alone. Agnes is the opposite, choosing to erase Edwin’s memories of her after the incident, despite clearly caring for him and knowing it will leave her alone.
The takeaway is that a Magician cannot afford to trust anyone, as knowledge of their existence inevitably will lead to betrayal and their own deaths. A fitting theme for the Calvard arc. Any form of trust and sense of family that clearly exists in the Hexen Clan is shown (thus far) to be non-existent in Sunshine Agnes with the Magicians Clan.
Now it’s entirely possible of course that once Kuro and it’s presumed sequels release, we will see a more active and inclusive Magicians clan like how the Hexen clan was developed over the Cold Steel Arc. But that would be against the sort of themes of deceit and betrayal that Kuro seems to be fixing on.
Something else to note are the various types of magic shown in the book that seem unique to the Magicians. Obviously the fact that someone can “steal” the powers of another are unique, but I’d also like to discuss the existence of “Tizze” the corpse of a young girl that is possessed by the evil spirit summoned forth by Montaigne. The closest in game examples of this kind of magic (assuming Sunshine Agnes is vaguely truthful) are the existence of the “night-touched” or familiars of Zoro-Agruga thanks to a combination of its corrupting miasma but more specifically the Erebonian curse. A curse which does not exist in Calvard. I’d guess that the magic of the magicians taps into is a similar well of power that the Cryptids and curse did. I’d venture we will be seeing animated corpses of the dead in Kuro at some point.
Searching for the Truth
Moving on to the last and most indecipherable bit of Sunshine Agnes… that is the “truth” of the book itself regarding the events it portrays, and more importantly it’s main characters of Agnes and Edwin. From here on we move from more solid evidence-based theory to speculation but I’ll try to start with the few bits of “evidence” that exist to back up the stories authenticity.
First of all, it’s pretty clear that the “Sunshine Agnes” in the book is somehow connected to the “Agnes Claudel” of Kuro. The physical descriptions, clothing, and even age are almost exact matches, and there is no such thing as coincidence in Kiseki. There also exists plenty of concept art with Agnes Claudel that highlights her importance, particularly the image heading this theory with her artifact, the blowing wind, and the very prominent usage of the three bladed leaves that just so happen to be VERY similar to the ones used in the Calvard Republics national emblem. Finally, the opening shows Agnes as being somehow connected to Roy Gramheart, President of Calvard and likely ultimate antagonist of the arc.
Contrasting this is the fact that so far from the pre-release info there is no other information to confirm that Edwin exists as a character in Kuro. The “Freelance reporter” character introduced to us instead is Dingo Brad, a person much older than Edwin and very different in personality. So, let’s leave out Edwin and focus on Sunshine Agnes and Agnes Claudel. This is where we move into the realm of pure speculation and my own opinion and guesswork. So here it goes.
After stewing on it, my gut conclusion is that Sunshine Agnes is a mostly fictional story, with the truthful bits being the existence of magicians and their magic, the introduction/importance of “Agnes” and her ties to magic, and the promotion of the notion of “searching for the truth”.
Specifically on the Magic bit, Hellseye speculates in in his prediction that Calvards Sept-Terrion is Wind, governing the mind, rationality, and decision making, and that the artifact belonging to Agnes family is similar to a Gospel from FC/SC in that it can interface with the powers of the Wind Sept. I agree with this prediction and offer my own added input. The “fake” Gospels produced by Weissman could perform “miracles” through their connection to the Aureole such as generating phantom projections, stirring up septium veins to cause earthquakes, inducing dreams and deep sleep, and even a form of mind control. It’s probable that if Agnes Claudel’s artifact acts as a similar sort of conduit it can be used to not just affect the mind, but also perform certain “miracles” of its own… with the added benefit of being a real artifact and not a fake like Weissmans. I’d hazard a guess that “intelligence” that is Mare is a summoned spirit related to the Wind sept that merged with Van’s Xipha, and that Claudels artifact can also be used to summon demonic entities (like the three devils shown in the trailer). Additionally, I’d expect the Antagonists (in this case the assassins and mafia) to want said artifact to generate fear, either directly or through its ability to summon devils under their control.
A lot has already been said about Van in other theories but…. what role will Agnes Claudel play in all of this? Irrespective of whether she is a magician, a descendent of one, or even not one at all and Kondo is trolling everyone I don’t think her plot role will change. Agnes Claudel and her artifact will be wanted by everyone due to her/its connection to a Sept-Terrion, and my guess is the final chapter of Kuro 1 will involve Agnes along with her artifact being kidnapped/stolen by the antagonists and used for whatever nefarious plans they have. Much like how Montaigne was willing to kill to steal the power of Magicians, the antagonists will stop at nothing to obtain whatever power Agnes has, similar to how the D:G cult wanted KeA so badly. I also think that Kuro will follow a somewhat similar path that Zero/Azure did, with a confrontation and destruction of the mafia/assassins or at least serious degradation by Kuro 1 end so that the true villains in Gramheart and Ouroborous can step in. And finally, I think the party will fail to rescue Agnes, either because she is killed or because of Sept/artifact shenanigans. Whether or not they can rescue or revive her will be determined in the next game. We’ve had cliffhanger endings to FC, CS1, and CS3, and I fully expect one here as well. Unless they are shooting for a 3 part arc, in which case we just get a cliffhanger with no villains truly being beaten for now. Just a shot of a smug Gramheart or the Oathbreaker going “Just as planned”.
Speaking of Gramheart, while we won’t be getting some big reveal of his “Possible Worlds” plans it’s not to early to speculate what he wants. The guy must know same as the Grandmaster that the “Nothingness” is basically upon them, and that anything to save your people from Zemurias presumed demise would be a wise course of action. I’m guessing that “Possible Worlds” is Gramheart is pursuing is so that he can find other worlds for his people to flee too, either in body (or mind if he has the Wind Sept), or maybe even merge this world with another to stave off the Nothingness taking over. As for his connection with Agnes… well he IS old enough to be her father but I feel that’s pretty cliché, even if it was the go to for poor Rean in the Cold Steel arc. I think a better guess is that he’s been killing magicians or capturing them to use their power, and that some of the victims include Agnes family. And that while she and her artifact are hidden for now, he covets them and is planning to take them both in the future.
Additionally, I will say that I wouldn’t be surprised if Agnes Claudel ends up being a real magician same as Sunshine Agnes, either discovering her powers that are locked away through trauma or some other stressful event. Or she could just be hiding them for fear of her own safety. And with good reason. Since the emphasis on stealing ones powers through murder lines up well with a bunch of psychotic assassins and mafiosos.
That about wraps it up. As a bonus though here is a real crack thought I had while writing this. If Calvard has two Sept-Terrions in its lands like Erebonia did what would the second one be? I would say the second one would be Time. Why? Because the other motifs that have been displayed so far in the pre-release info involve time related objects like the lit up clocktower and the fact this game is likely to be the darkest in the series so far, and the Time Sept-Terrion is generally seen amongst the community as an “evil” object compared to the other artifacts. Most importantly though, Zemuria just seems like it is out of time. At the end of Reverie, the Grandmaster made very clear that “Nothingness” was coming in just 3 years…. It’s 2 years later, and we are only in the first game of the Calvard Arc with a year left on the Doomsday clock. I’m not sure how you squeeze a one Sept-Terrion arc in unless we go directly from Kuro to the endgame with no overlap….. unless you use said Sept to buy time.
But that’s for another day. Until then, lets get ready for the next installment of Kondos Wild Ride!