Ever few weeks to a month leading up to the release of a new kiseki game, Falcom showcases a portion of the main cast of characters in a weekly Famitsu issue. Usually these characters are grouped based on their affiliation or connection. However leading up to Kuro 1’s release, there was one character who’s grouping was considered odd. That character was Nina Fenly.
A girl described as a famous up and coming actress in Calvard in the same section as the Direwolf, Golden Butterfly, and Oathbreaker–all members of Ouroboros. Was this foreshadowing for something more? In this theory, I argue that not only is this deliberate, but she may in fact be the new seventh Anguis and more.
Nina Fenly: A Review
Before we begin, let’s start by reviewing the information presented in Kuro 1 and 2. Nina is formally introduced in Chapter 3 as this determined and polite girl that aspires to be a great actress. She also comes off as alert and inquisitive during the investigation of the events surrounding the Film Festival. At this point, still comes off as mostly normal, but then early into Chapter 5, she receives a phone call.
“I see, so the filming site was as I expected. In that case, all that’s left is to gather the final actors and start the show (translation by The Zerofield Team).”
A few scenes later, we learn the location of Almata’s next stage is Oracion. Given Falcom’s penchant for drama and foreshadowing, it is not hard to guess that Nina was talking about Almata’s Death Game. By now, it’s clear that there is more to Nina than she initially let on. She only becomes more enigmatic in the finale when she was found alone in the hotel parking lot.
“Yes. That’s fine. Things are already progressing according to plan. Once it actually appears, I will make the determination (Zerofield Team translation)” (Gameplay credit: Frokenok YT Channel)
So the big questions here are: Who is Nina and with whom she is working for? In chapter 5, Nina was implied to have predicted Oracion as Almata’s next target before the death game was ever announced. This suggests that whoever was her affiliated party was already in the city in advance. In hindsight, the only group that fits that criteria is Iscariot which had been investigating Edmond Auclair for his ties to Almata in advance.
“Edmond Auclair, you are hereby declared a heretic.”
There are few other coincidences linking her Iscariot. Askeladd first appears in the Dark-Light district during the Edith section of Chapter 4. Almost immediately after, Nina’s first connect event is unlocked.
And then during Pandemonium, he shows up in the same district as Nina and then suspiciously has to leave after rescuing Judith after receiving new orders.
In the sequel, they are even more forward with the connection. For example, when Nina implied Askeladd’s arrival to Messeldam in Act 1 or in Act 3, when Celis and Askeladd confronted the fleeing Van and Rion, we can see Askeladd glance towards Nina’s direction.
(Gameplay credit: Sam Farron YT Channel)
And then how the camera angle when Askeladd was apologizing at the end was positioned as if Askeladd was talking to Nina.
Askeladd, “I’m sorry for getting outsiders involved in this matter.” (Gameplay credit: Sam Farron YT Channel)
And the obvious one, during the coup, while observing Askeladd saving Van, she is seen praying for Aidios’s protection.
And then finally, the truth comes out in the finale when Nina alongside Iscariot confront Van in front of Trion Tower.
Van, “Nina Fenly. How do you do? No. Perhaps, nice to finally be acquainted with you. The most popular young actress in the movie industry– which is just one of your titles.”
During this scene, Nina reveals to Van that she was not C, rather ‘they’ were the ones who hunts and destroys C’s kind (implying heretics). Van later prods her for her other title was since Bergard’s letter revealed that there never was a new commander of the Papal Guard (who also oversees Iscariot). She responds by saying that she doesn’t have a job title. However, His Holiness the Pope, and the Commander of the Gralsritter calls her “終わり の 聖女” or Owari no Seijo which could be translated as Saint of the End, Saint of Death, or the Death Maiden which will become one of the roots of this theory later.
“Probably only a few hundreds of Iscariot’s soldiers, the Cardinal of the Congregation for the Divine Worship, the Commander of Gralsritter, and the Pope know the identity of the new chief.”
In Kuro 1, Bergard explains to Van that the identity of the new Papal Guard chief was top secret and was intended to be trump card. Only a select few people knew their identity.
The fact that one of these persons was the Cardinal of Divine Worship may hint towards her origins, at least. The Congregation for Divine Worship deals with the church’s worship activities throughout the continent. They are the front side of the church that interacts with the laypeople. With this in mind, we can guess that Nina was discovered through one of their orphanages or traveling priests and nuns.
Another thing to consider is how Nina is described as half-easterner. From the novel Shunran the Sharpshooter, we learned that the Septian Church cooperates with some tribes in Eastern Zemuria, so it’s definitely possible that Nina works with the Church through that connection. This also possible could connect her to one of nine clans of the Holy Iskan Empire called the Navagraha.
The next thing I want to discuss is Nina’s personality complex. In her second connect event in Kuro 1, she said that ever since she was a girl, she has lacked a real self.
“When I was young, I was having a problem of not having a ‘real self’.”
The issue was reemphasized in her final connect event in Kuro 1 and then brought up in again Kuro 2 during her reveal scene.
“That stage performance was a little too bright for me. Hollow and not having a real self. For the empty me to see it all through…”
This is an odd complex to have and the way she describes it almost seems supernatural in context of her Divine Scion’s Gaze which is what we will discuss next.
Nina’s Power: Divine Scion’s Gaze?
Throughout Kuro 1, Nina expresses her clairvoyance. “The Filming Site is as I expected.”; “Things are progressing according to plan.”; “One more move… No, perhaps two more move.”. However, this ability wasn’t described until the Trion Tower event in Kuro 2.
“Being able to completely grasp the truth. You have the Divine Scion’s Gaze that Shizuna’s Master uses, right?”
Nina denies it saying, “No. My ‘gaze’ is a different thing from his.”
It is curious how exactly her ‘gaze’ works, but it at least would explain how the Iscariot found out about the Diabolic Core in Kuro 1.
“Everything ended well. However, Thorn had escape from the battlefield. And forgive me, about the ‘Black and Blue Core’……. Regarding the former, we’ve begun pursuit. While for the latter, we’re expanding search targets. I’ll leave the rest to you, Chief.”
At this point in the game, the existence of the diabolic core wasn’t even known yet by anyone yet somehow Nina knew about it. With this ability to perceive the truth, its possible that she first figured it as early as the her first meeting with Gerard.
It also could serve as an explanation to how she figured out about Oracion being picked as Almata’s next target and other kind of implied predictions.
Although one thing to note about the Diabolic Core, it is not clear yet what the Iscariot intended to do with it. Whether Nina and the Iscariot had prior knowledge about it even before they investigated Almata, that’s a mystery still.
It could be that they’ve known about the Core since the beginning and not something they encountered by chance from Nina’s gaze.
Shani: Goddess of Karma
As mentioned earlier, Nina special abilities and eastern heritage could tie back to the Holy Iskan Empire. Iska was a multiethnic empire that spanned the majority of Eastern Zemuria. The nine major clans or ethnicities that made up the Empire were referred to as the Navagraha which in Hinduism refers to the nine celestial bodies and their corresponding deities.
We know that both Ikaruga and Heiyue originated from two of these clans and that Arioch was specifically part of Ragou or Raghu clan. Raghu or Rahu was name of the Navagraha god corresponding to the ascending moon. He is associated with mischief, fear, materialism, dissatisfaction, obsession, and confusion. These traits are remarkably similar to Arioch’s so it stands to reason that if Nina was connected to one of the clans that she also would have traits similar to one of the Navagraha.
The one that stands out is Shani who is the personification of the planet Saturn. He is described as the God of Karma, justice, and retribution. He delivers the consequences for one’s thoughts, words, and actions. He is considered inauspicious and is feared for delivering misfortune and loss to those who deserve it while rewarding the righteous.
Kuro 2 emphasized the importance of karma with the eighth genesis being specifically created to observe karma or sin. According to Zolga, all humans have the capacity to sin given the right circumstances. Not all humans would, but there is always the possibility and that weakness is what the Eighth Genesis was designed to observe.
Let’s look at the scene with Nina following Feri’s section of Act 3 in Kuro 2, just before the dead end.
The apartment we live in is very close to Trion Tower. That’s part of the reason why I sometimes come here for a change of pace. ……..I didn’t really notice this when I was standing on the same ground level, but each and every streetlight that spreads out below is proof that someone is alive there. How that many lives have come together… Turns out this city is so, beautiful…. and sinful at the same time.
Here, Nina is directly describing the city as sinful, or it might be better to say she was observing it as sinful. Representing Shani, she has observed the city’s karma and judged it to be evil. Like the goddess of karma, Nina’s role is to serve as an arbiter of fate and deliver justice upon the sinful. This explains Nina’s complex. To be a true judge requires elimination of all biases, to be empty.
Karma being the true nature of Nina’s power would explain her reaction to altar on Nemeth Island.
The altar was used to accumulate negative karma across the island to transform Quatre in an angel. Nina’s power allowed her to see this accumulation in advance.
The Saint but not the Chief
The next question is why is she not officially the “Chief of the Papal Guard” despite seemingly fitting the job description.
Van, “The Chief who was appointed three years ago in the Holy City was actually a fake and never existed. So, what’s your actual other title?”
Nina, “I don’t have a job title, but, His Holiness the Pope and the Commander of Gralsritter calls me, The Death Maiden (Owari no Seijo).”
The game made an emphasis that Nina’s title is actually 終わり の 聖女 or Owari no Seijo or Saint of the End or the Death Maiden. The writer wants us players to know that Nina’s character is associated with the title of Saint/Maiden rather than Chief which gives the impression that the writer has more in store for Nina later on than just being head of Iscariot. In fact, I’d say her title of Saint makes Nina’s character more flexible in terms of fitting in a variety of narratives.
Nina Fenly and Lianne Sandlot
When it was revealed in Trails into Reverie that the Grandmaster had found a suitable candidate to replace the Steel Maiden, the first candidate that came to mind was Yun Ka Fai since the thought process at the time was that the position of Seventh Anguis needed to be ‘The Strongest Fighter’. However, now, I think it might actually be Nina.
if we try to compare Nina against Arianrhod, the two actually have several traits in common:
First, both Nina and Lianne were a saint–Saint of the End and Saint Sandlot. Additionally, Nina’s epithet Saint of the End (Owari no Seijo: 終わり の 聖女) is written in the same style as Arianrhod’s Steel Maiden (Hagane no Seijo: 鋼 の 聖女) and Lance Maiden (Yari no Seijo: 槍の聖女). Elaine’s ‘Sword Maiden’, on the contrary is written (Ken no Otome: 剣の乙女) using otome rather than Seijo. This gives the impression that author wants the audience to specifically associate Nina with Lianne Sandlot.
Second, both Nina and Arianrhod have an elite unit serving directly under them. For Arianrhod, it’s the Eisenritter and the Stahlritter; Nina, Iscariot.
Finally, they have similar motivations and values. Ines explained the reason she followed Arianrhod was because how Arianrhod delivered justice without being bounded by worldly rules and stuff. Like how the bracers sometimes couldn’t act because of the the non-intervention code. For Arianrhod, she never care for such bureaucracy, enacting justice however she saw fit.
Ines: “I joined the bracers, but soon found myself constrained by certain… special provisions. Sometimes, people in positions of authority would go unpunished for their crimes, while the innocent would suffer. One day, I watched on as my lord executed the ringleader of criminal group. His influence and authority meant nothing to her. Without hesitation, she punished villainy to keep innocent people safe. I realized that this was the ideal I aspired to. And didn’t you, too, Duvalie?”
Duvalie, “Yes. Our personal histories differ, but like you, I was won over by our lord’s commitment to justice.”
And that’s what Nina’s been doing with the Iscariot. In Kuro 1 Chapter 5, Askeladd explains to Elaine that his mission is to deliver divine retribution toward heretics.
Askeladd, “We, the Iscariot, judge heretics who cannot be judged by the law.”
And since Nina leads Iscariot, she is who determines who deserves divine retribution such as people in power like Edmond Auclair. In their own ways, both women deliver justice without being bound by the law.
As a final point, Arianrhod was referred to directly during the Trion Tower scene.
Van, “I wonder whether you’re working toward the goal of the first or second generation of C. Or of Professor Epstein’s.”
Nina, “Claude Epstein. Hehe, that’s quite wild of a thought. No… when you think of that immortal in the Empire and the true identity of the Garden Master… it’s actually not such a wild thought, is it?”
With that, it’s more apparent that Nina is like a spiritual successor to Arianrhod and could be a strong candidate for the new seventh Anguis.
Iscariot’s Other Target
In Kuro 1 chapter 4, when Celis and Rion meet Askeladd in the underground district for the first time, Celis spoke to Askeladd, “Never expected to meet you in this place. You know, you lot have been acting strange lately.”
And then in Kuro 1 chapter 5, when Celis and Rion fought Iscariot in the Death Game, Celis spoke to Askeladd again, “You see, not telling the Gralsritter is one thing. But what I don’t get is why you didn’t report your whereabouts to the Congregations for Divine Worship?”
In Kuro 1’s finale, Bergard explained to Van that the Congregation for Divine Worship had more sway within the Papal Guard than the Sacraments to the Papal Guard which means Divine Worship has more control over the Papal Guard. However, here we have Iscariot hiding something from their superiors which may be an early indicator of Iscariot going rogue at some point or having ulterior motives.
After Edmond is taken into custody, there’s an optional dialogue with Askeladd which begins with him saying that if Edmond continues to commit heresy, they won’t hesitate to strike again.
Bergard would then speak to the hooded man, “There is no doubt that hunting heretics in this land lies within the scope of your duty. However, given how the Papal Guard has operated in Calvard these past few years, am I clear to assume that is not your only objective?”
Askeladd, “I suppose I cannot hide it from you, Master.”
Van, “So you’ve got a target in mind besides Almata?”
Bergard, “Indeed. I had intended to inform you in full when we got the chance, Van, but… Ever since the Papal Guard’s leader changed, they have been—No, perhaps this is not the place to discuss such matters.” (translation by the Zerofield Team)
So who is this other target? Nina having the title Saint of the End would at least hint that Nina’s goal is related to S.120X, the end of all. There are several guesses on what Nina and the Iscariot are after aside from Almata’s extermination.
First is the Diabolic Core. We already know that Iscariot was aware of its existence before it was even revealed to the party. Considering the possibility of Nina being the new seventh Anguis and Van being the main character, we could infer that their objective with the Diabolic Core is related to Ouroboros’ overarching plan.
The second thing would be related to how Nina is the leader of the Iscariot and her possible connection to Shani. Now, there could be other people that Nina is targeting in Calvard. Since she has been investigating Calvard for years, it could indicate that she’s targeting a large group, or an influential one that is hard to reach. Nina might be gathering evidence on their karma for the past years and is going to deliver the judgement in 120X.
My third guess is that Trion Tower is her target. Nina said that her living quarter is close to Trion Tower and how she frequents the place. We know how significant Trion Tower is due to its designer. Considering the theory about Nina being the Goddess of Karma and how one of the Genesis is observing one of the karmas may hint us some possible future plots. There is also the Hamilton connection in the post-game scene and the reveal that she was coordinating with Zolga, Nina’s target in Kuro 2.