l link Devils, Genesis, and the Sept-Terrion to death. -Hellseye47
Let’s get the obvious thing out the window first. The Sept-Terrion is time. The time element is associated with the character traits of fear, anxiety, outsiders, obsessions, deviances, darkness, and change. Calvard as a nation is always changing—always moving forward—, is more accepting of foreigners and deviants, has a strong underworld presence, and has a big problem with anti-eastern terrorism. Kuro’s main scenario has fear as a prominent theme and a common character and setting thing is avoiding or forgetting the past. The narrative is darker and more mature dealing with assassins, terrorism, racism, and child abuse and brings back old concepts such as the DG Cult and the 77 Devils. The latter being expanded to include the obvious Divine Knight narrative equivalents of the 5 Lords. And if these aren’t enough, the Genesis orbments are literal clocks and the pre-release material of Kuro II implies time rewinding with a butterfly effect.
So the Sept-Terrion is not the question I want to answer. Instead, I want to give a possible explanation for how it was used by the original Kinship of Time and what went wrong, its relationship to the Genesis Orbments, and how death, demons, and the beyond factor into all of this.
A good place to start is always with the Master Art cards from Azure. A while back I wrote an observations piece on the flower symbolism on the cards. My opinion is that the flower represents the relationship between the Tribe and Sept-Terrion as flowers are usually given. The flower or plant on the time arts card is ninebark (a type of hawthorn bush) with white rose buds. The hawthorn family of plants in general symbolizes hope whereas the rose bud color symbolizes what for. For example, the full meaning of the red rose bush would be “hope for love”. The white rose bud symbolizes purity or innocence so the meaning of the card would be “hope for purity or innocence”. Given that it’s time and we have an obvious butterfly effect plot on our hands, my interpretation would be “hope that things turn out better next time”.
The next thing is culture. Most Zemurian nations are usually reflective of their ancient selves to some degree. For example, Liberl is described as dignified with airships and built an ancient city in the sky or Erebonians are proud, ambitious, stubborn, warlike, and industrious and build ancient warmachines. Calvard is very progressive and forward thinking—both in their approach to technology and social structure—compared to the rest of Zemuria. Taking this to the extreme, I imagine ancient Calvardians had an attitude of trying anything or advancing at any cost because if they messed up, they could just rewind time and try again. As a result, they probably had the most advanced society in all of pre-collapse Zemuria aside from maybe the Kinship of Space.
Like the other tribes, their society eventually collapsed in part due to their own arrogance and in part due to their Sept-Terrion disappearing or acting erratically. From a narrative standpoint, I think it makes more sense that it would’ve disappeared because the whole point of time rewinding is to remove consequences. A society that’s not used to having consequences suddenly having consequences would be disastrous. As for where it went, my hypothesis that I will discuss in detail is the Beyond.
Since Sky SC, we’ve known that there exists objects which are completely alien and unexplainable by Zemuria laws, instead described by the divergent laws (or the outside reason in JP). In CS4, this is expanded to explain that there exists an entire world or universe outside Zemuria where its laws don’t apply. McBurn and the salt pillar are the two main examples given; however Gaius explains that there are many others often attributed to Gehenna or the Goddess to avoid panic. We learn from Emma and the Hexen Clan that there also exists some barrier around Zemuria that both keeps these entities out while also preventing those within from leaving. This barrier weakens in places where the spirit veins are most riled.
Before this point, we knew that when the spirit veins got all fussy, weird shit started to happen with the elements causing abnormal monsters to appear. Most of this is apparently kosher-ish with the church, but when demons and devils start appearing there’s a problem. These non-kosher creatures tend to make their homes in fancy places like cult lodges, battlefields, alchemical ritual sites, massacre sites, and seedy sewers. The common theme being that these are the kind of places where people ended up dead. If you doubt the seedy sewers, where else are the gangs of Calvard going to kill each other? If we go by Gerard’s statement, Gehenna also doesn’t actually exist which begs the question of where D&Ds come from if not somewhere in Zemuria.
In the Japanese version of the third, the Grandmaster specifically uses the phrase ‘outward’ when describing Loewe’s spirit leaving Zemuria. If this phrasing means as it hints, then that means souls leave the Zemurian system to the beyond upon death. For this to happen, some pathway needs to open up within the barrier which closes once the spirit has moved to the other side. This explains why reviving the dead is nearly impossible even with the combined powers of fire and earth–Sept-Terrions’ can only influence the Zemurian environment. However, if the hole is big enough i.e. a lot of death happens in one location (death sites) or a substantial spiritual being such as a Holy Beast (Argres) dies then creatures from outside can come in. Remember that McBurn’s arrival, the Salt Pale, and Epstein’s death (who is said to have become unshackled) all happened around the same time. Using my earlier hypothesis that the Sept-Terrion is outside Zemuria, I’m going to postulate that the Genesis Orbments work by taking advantage of this rift to connect to the Sept of Time.
Based on the long trailer for Kuro 2, it’s clear that the genesis have some ability to mess with time, and in hindsight, many of their abilities demonstrated in Kuro could be construed as time-related. Ghouls could be humans whose time has been stopped at or just before their death, but lacking souls turning them into feral creatures. Both Grendel and Mare as well as the entirety of chapter 4 could be possible future technology being manifested in the past. We already have hints that Zecht Arms is developing shard technology remarkably similar to Grendel and MTSC is pursuing advanced AI technology with the hollow core system. Both the first and seventh genesis could literally create a stopped time world. Even Taikun’s genesis could be interpreted as transferring the memories and spirit of the past Taikun to the present. Melchior’s statement in chapter 1 and then Hamilton’s in 4 implies that the Genesis might not actually have any power of their own. Like the Gospels for the Aureole, they must tap into something else which should be the Sept of Time.
Because the Sept of Time is currently outside Zemuria, there first needs to be a connection to the genesis which requires a sufficient rift in the barrier. The more substantial effect you want, the bigger the rift you need. Turning people into ghouls, very efficient, you just use the target as the sacrifice. Making an underground death game with an omnipresent rule keeper, apparently requires nuking a small village. Since this a simple gateway, Van can tap into it to transform into Grendel whenever the other Genesis are active.
Back to the original question of why the hell is Time outside Zemuria. Metawise, time should have no spatial definition in the opposite way the Aureole has exact point-like definition. At the very least, the outside has different rules than inside Zemuria. Time also has always been the demonic element and Gehenna probably doesn’t exist, so putting it in the place where demons do come from fits. Finally, the main symbol of time is the star which can symbolize the great beyond, the afterlife, hope, and the final frontier which I all equate with outer space and the beyond.
As mentioned earlier, the ancient Kinship of Time should have been very forward thinking and technologically advanced so there’s no reason to think exploring the stars would be outside their scope. Additionally, death is just a moment in time. Using the power of the Sept-Terrion, they could overlay themselves into a state of being alive and dead at the same time and use the pathway to leave Zemuria. While in the Beyond, something happened and they tried to use the Sept, but the rules of the outside are different than the rules within and the crew were changed into timeless entities known originally as the 72 Devils. Over their timeless existence, they became bitter and envious, aiming to destroy their former home. The remaining five devil lords were created after the world was reset at least once. Maybe they were the astronauts of Gramheart’s space mission in the original timeline.
- Death forms a gateway between Zemuria and the Beyond
- Ancient Kinship of Time grew an advanced society around having zero consequences for their actions.
- They tried to go to outer space (the beyond) using the Sept
- Things didn’t work properly and the Crew were transformed into the 72 (later 77 Devils) while the Sept-Terrion was lost in the Beyond.
- Within Zemuria, losing the no consequences machine means there were now consequences and society collapsed.
- The Genesis are tools to connect with the Sept of Time.
- The party might get to leave Zemuria.
- The final dungeon of the arc might be an ancient spaceship or space station.