The Rivalries (相克), also known as the Rivalry of the Seven (七の相克), is a ritual during which Awakeners and their Divine Knights battle until the victorious Knight absorbs the power of the defeated Knight.
The goal of the ritual is to gather the power of the Divine Knights into a single unit so that the Great One, from which their power originates, can manifest once again.[Note 1] To commence the Rivalries, the world must be on the brink of destruction, such as being under the conditions of the Great Twilight.
The ritual of the Rivalry can be divided into three steps:
- Gathering the Awakeners
The ritual expects a place to be prepared in which the Rivalry will commence. Appropriate places are subspaces, such as the Spirit Shrines constructed by the Gnomes. Divine Knights fighting here will have the ability to steal the power of the other.
- Preparing the stage
The mere presence of the Divine Knight and their Awakeners is insufficient to commence the Rivalries. There needs to be signs of conflict in or near the surrounding area in order for the Rivalry to properly commence. Rushed Rivalries can potentially endanger the Divine Knight in the future.
- Engage in battle, steal power
The battle between the Divine Knight then start in earnest. The winner will basically be given the chance to absorb the power of the loser. Doing so repeatedly will increase the winner's power and bring it closer to become the Great One.
When a Divine Knight is absorbed, if its owner is an Immortal, they will die.
During the Erebonian Civil War in Trails of Cold Steel II, Vita Clotilde prepared a stage for Valimar and Ordine to battle in with the goal to simulate the requirements for the Rivalries in an attempt to keep the curse at bay. Throughout Trails of Cold Steel III the experiments of Ouroboros had a similar aim. Vita and Ouroboros then went separate ways. Vita's aim became to stop Giliath Osborne's interference whereas Ouroboros, after having collected their data from the experiments, decided to collaborate with him.
The Final Rivalries
During the Great Twilight, the Rivalries were held. For each Rivalry, ground battles were fight to set the stage.
- First Rivalry: Rean Schwarzer piloting Valimar, versus Crow Armbrust piloting Ordine, on Bryonia Island. Rean emerged as the victor, but declined to absorb Ordine once he realized Crow, an Immortal, would die if this happened. Ordine not being absorbed enabled Crow to keep on living; he and Ordine assisted Rean and Valimar in all of the future Rivalries.
- Second Rivalry: Rean and Crow versus Rutger Claussell piloting Zector in the Draco Shrine. Rutger lost the Rivalry, with Zector being absorbed into Valimar. Rean initially declined to absorb Zector, but Rutger stopped Rean as he felt his time was overdue, resulting in his death. Black Alberich attempted to stall this Rivalry but failed.
- Third Rivalry: Rean and Crow versus Arianrhod piloting Argreion in the Stella Shrine. Arianrhod lost and was about to join their side, but Rufus Albarea piloting El-Prado came out of hiding and absorbed Argreion before fleeing. This ended Arianrhod's life.
- Fourth Rivalry: Rean and Crow versus Cedric Reise Arnor piloting Testa-Rossa aboard Tuatha De Danann. Cedric lost, causing Testa-Rossa to be absorbed into Valimar.
- Fifth Rivalry: Rean and Crow versus Rufus piloting El-Prado aboard Tuatha De Danann. Rufus was defeated, causing El-Prado (and with it the strength of its absorbed Argreion) to be absorbed into Valimar.
- Sixth Rivalry: Rean and Crow versus Giliath Osborne piloting Ishmelga. Osborne lost, causing Valimar to have Ishmelga absorbed into it, defiling it. Black Alberich attempted to convince Osborne to stall the Rivalry until the next day as the stage was not set, but Osborne ignored his warning and started immediately. Since Osborne was an Immortal, Ishmelga's absorption resulted in his death.
- Sen no Kiseki Magazine, Volume 5.