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The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III (英雄伝説(えいゆうでんせつ) 閃の軌跡(センノキセキ)) is the eighth installment in the Trails series and the third game of the Erebonia arc.

The game was released on September 28, 2017 on PlayStation 4. Publisher NIS America will publish the game in North America and Europe on September 24 and September 27, 2019, respectively.

Synopsis

Setting

Approximately one year and a half after the Erebonian Civil War, Erebonia annexed North Ambria, making Erebonia far larger than its rival, the Republic of Calvard. Meanwhile, the Imperial government has centralised its power and the provinces once ruled by the Four Great Houses suffer new problems in their weakened state of disarray. Ouroboros finally moves again in the shadows; they align their plans with the movements of jaegers in Calvard.

With the enrolment of Crown Prince Cedric Reise Arnor, Thors Military Academy has transformed into a full-fledged military academy. Children of the (former) Four Great Houses and foreigners are accepted at its branch school in the City of Leeves in West Erebonia.

The principal of the Thors Branch Campus is Aurelia Le Guin. The school offers three classes: Class VII for Special Operations under Instructor Rean Schwarzer, Class VIII as the Combat Tactics under Instructor Randolph Orlando, and Class IX as the Military Finance under Instructor Towa Herschel.

Prologue: "Spring, Once Again"

Rean Schwarzer, the young man known as the Ashen Chevalier who guided the Erebonian Civil War to its end, has graduated from Thors Military Academy and started as an instructor at Thors Branch Campus, founded by Prince Olivert Reise Arnor. After disembarking the train at Leeves, he is greeted by Towa Herschel, his senior as a student and now fellow instructor at the campus.

The two make their way to the academy building, where they meet the other instructors: Commissioned Major Michael Irving from the Railway Military Police; First Lieutenant Randolph Orlando from the Imperial Army Crossbell Unit; Erebonia's foremost engineer, and Professor G. Schmidt. Seated as principal is the Golden Rakshasa, Aurelia Le Guin, general of the former Noble Alliance.

After the teachers introduces themselves, the school entrance ceremony commences. After a strict, but encouraging speech by Principal Le Guin, the ceremony ended with the class layouts. One by one, the students made their way to their teachers until the three students and Rean remain. With a fierce smile, Principal Le Guin declares that Rean and the three remaining students form Class VII - Special Affairs.

Rean introduces himself to his students, but his reputation as the Ashen Chevalier already earned him distrust among two of his students: Juna Crawford, hailing from the Crossbell Police Academy and strongly opposing Erebonia's occupation of her home state, and Kurt Vander, descendant of Erebonia's celebrated military family. Vander. The third, more silent of the students is Altina Orion, the Black Rabbit affiliated with the Intelligence Division who serves as surveillance support for Rean.

Under Rean's tutelage, the three students accept a trial to consider the pro and con of joining Class VII. The trial results in Juna and Kurt more or less acknowledging Rean's capabilities as a warrior and a leader and, despite their mixed feelings, decide to participate in Class VII. Altina plans to join Class VII as a natural course of her mission, but Rean urges her to think for herself for once. Although visibly confused when asked to her feelings, Altina decides to participate in Class VII as well.

With one of Rean's inspiring speeches - proclaiming they're not working together as instructor and students but as partners to encourage each other to improve themselves - they start their activities as Class VII.

Chapter 1: "Reunion ~The Old Capital of Chalkstone~"

4/15. Two weeks have passed since the entrance ceremony. With Juna and Kurt finally having cleared the air, the solidarity among Class VII's member is slowly starting to grow, including Rean's bond with his students.

After Rean finishes his explanation to Class VII about the free day and the Panzer Soldat training the week after, he wanders through the school and heads home. As he is about to leave, he's called by Ash Carbide of Class VIII and Musse Egret of Class IX. Rean gives the two misbehaving students a wry smile and heads back to the dorm.

Once Rean gets back to his room, he is contacted by Elliot Craig from the Original Class VII. Both are relieved to see each other again and spend the evening catching up.

4/16. The day after Elliot's unexpected call, Rean heads toward the briefing room just past noon. Intelligence Division's Major Lechter Arundel visits the academy as a messenger from the imperial government to discuss the 'condition' for the branch school's continuation: the entire school would head to locations under the pretense of a "special field study" to quell the disturbances that have started to appear throughout Erebonia. Whereas Rean expresses his concerns for the safety of the students, it was just what Principal Le Guin was hoping for and agrees to this condition. It is decided that Thors Branch Campus would first head to the Sutherland Province in south Erebonia.

Afterwards, Rean showed Millium Orion, who visited together with Lechter, around Leeves. Together with Altina whom they happened to run into, the three of them explore the Einhel Keep. During the exploration, Millium and Altina discuss how they are homunculus of the "Oz" model series, with no recollection of the Black Workshop; the place they were born in. When they finished their exploration, the sun is already setting and Millium leaves together with Lechter.

On the night they depart for the Sutherland Province, Major Claire Rieveldt arrives with the armoured train Derfflinger. After boarding, Principal Le Guin and Professor G. Schmidt see the school off as they head toward their first field study.

4/22: Rean and co. journey to Saint-Arkh, and upon arriving via the Derfflinger the camera pans to show Fie Claussell overlooking. Once they get off the train, they meet with Marquis Hyarms and his butler, Celestin, who gives them a variety of quests to complete. While searching for a missing cat, they encounter Shirley Orlando, who directs them to the cat's location, hearkening back to her love of cats.

During a required quest, an archaism is encountered, upon defeating it, Rutger Claussell appears in casual clothing, and makes small talk about why they are out there, after the talk they notice there are about 15 broken archaisms in a ditch, all of them shocked that the old man beat them all. In Isthmia Great Forest, the higher elements are active. Upon reaching the end of the forest they find the flower used in making Vita Clotilde's perfume, Rean's heart throbs, and the screen turns red. Roselia appears and begins talking about how things have started to happen, but it is still too early to be concerned.

Traveling further down the same path they eventually arrive at a gated off area that isn't listed on the map. The party wishes to investigate, but Michael refuses to let them. While there, they are attacked by archaisms, but Laura saves the day. The party returns to the base camp, before they could take a break, Duvalie and Shirley arrive to attack them. The entire school engages in a battle to fend them off, and Fie and Elliot also appear to lend their strength. Eventually, Duvalie and Shirley retreat without an end to the fight.

4/23: The next day, Lechter Arundel delivers an order from Chancellor Giliath Osborne. The Ashen Chevalier is to "Discover the motives of the society and prevent them from realising them." Fie, Elliot, and Laura join to help. Rean does not allow any Class VII members to help, even Altina. As they leave the camp, Lechter is seen communicating with Ash about some sort of "mission".

In Saint-Arkh, Rean and co. communicate via video chat with Toval Randonneur, where they discuss how Osborne took over the Phantasmal Blaze Plan at the end of Sen II, and discuss how Ouroboros may be trying to take it back. Agate walks in on this discussion, and after being unable to come up with a next move, he hands Rean a list of quests.

They encounter Agate at the entrance to Hamel, who asks them what they expect to find inside. He then reveals to them the events that transpired there prior to the Hundred Days War. Kurt, Juna, Ash, and Altina watch them enter from atop a nearby cliff. They then signal for the rest of the students to come, to which Michael is understandably shocked.

On the way to Hamel, Agate tells them about how he travelled with Prince Olivert four years prior, during the events of the Trails in the Sky trilogy. Upon arriving in Hamel, Agate tells them of the story of Joshua and Loewe. He then reveals the full story behind the Hundred Days War, the empire hiring jaegers to destroy the village, etc. Rean's heart throbs, he gets flashbacks of Karin, Loewe, Joshua, and Osborne carrying him on his back.

Upon arriving at the back of Hamel, Shirley and Duvalie are standing at Loewe's grave. Duvalie slumps down to her knees, and she and Shirley offer prayers to the grave, they step aside to allow the party to place flowers at Loewe's grave, and pay their respects. Duvalie comments on the brilliance of the demon sword Kernviter, they then leave without fighting, as it would be disrespectful to their deceased comrade.

Outside of Hamel, they face each other and prepare for combat. Duvalie reveals her hometown suffered a tragedy similar to that of Hamel. Upon defeating Shirley and Duvalie, the party is repelled by Ines and Ennea who protect Duvalie, and Gareth who protects Shirley. Shirley then pushes a button, activating a gargantuan blue robot. This robot is revealed to be Aion Type-Gamma II. Rean summons Valimar to combat the Aion. Upon the sight of her father, Fie's voice begins to waver, and she gets flashbacks of her past, asking why he is alive. Rutger summons a translucent purple robot to finish off the aion, before stating that that this is a fight between "us" and "them" before leaving with the members of Ouroboros and Red Constellation. The entirety of Thors II goes and offers flowers to Loewe's grave. Upon thinking about Hamel and the events of 14 years ago, Ash's eye starts to throb.

4/24: With the order from the imperial government and the field study in the Sutherland Province successfully completed, the campus heads with the Derfflinger to Leeves. Rean bids farewell to his former classmates and Agate, thanking them for their assistance. Seeing the Original Class VII springing back to life in order to investigate Ouroboros's movements, leaves Juna and the others New Class VII sighing with the long road they still have ahead of them. In response, Laura and the others from Original Class VII encourages them, saying they're looking forward to see them again.

Chapter 2: "Crossbell's Conflict"

5/13: Through April's field trip to the Sutherland Province and the start of club activities, the social network of each students is slowly growing. The same applies to the teachers among themselves: Randolph invites Rean for a drink at a local inn. The two open their hearts, slowly demolishing the "barriers" they had built around themselves, and get close enough for address each other with their first names.

When Rean returns to his room late at night, he receives an unexpected call on his ARCUS II. Opening his device reveals the caller as Original Class VII member Machias Regnitz. Through a certain source, Machias was able to know where the new field study would be taking place, which might give them a chance to meet up again.

5/14: The day after Rean's heart-to-heart with Randy, the briefing for the next field study takes place. Crown Prince Cedric Reise Arnor, who came in with Major Michael, informs the teachers that their next field study will take them to Crossbell State.

After the briefing, Rean is stopped in his tracks by Cedric, who informs him that he would like Rean to transfer to the main academy, which Rean politely refuses. The crown prince reveals some agitation over Rean's answer. As he heads toward the exit, he reluctantly greets his old friend Kurt and informs Rean he's expecting an answer in the near future.

That night, Rean contacts Machias. They spend the night discussing Crossbell as the next destination of their field trip and business trip, respectively, and the crown prince's attempt at recruiting Rean.

The next day, the students prepare themselves for another bout of Panzer Soldat training. The drill, however, is interrupted when a deep crimson Soldat followed by 2 others trespass on the academy ground. Its pilot, Crown Prince Cedric, challenges Class VII to a duel. Juna, visibly angry over Cedric's behaviour, forms a party with Kurt and Ash. Together, they somehow manage to defeat the main school's students. Even after having lost, nothing changes about Cedric's obsession with Rean or the way he looks down upon the branch school as he returns to the main school in high and proud spirits.

Fast-forward to the day of departure to the field study. Juna has been behaving strangely ever since she heard the next field study would take place in her home. Still, she boards before the train Derfflinger departs from Leeves to Crossbell.

5/20: Amidst the exciting students that visit Crossbell for the first time, Rean Schwarzer and Class VII visit Orchis Tower, where the first governor-general and person in charge of the area, Rufus Albarea, awaits them. He tasks the group primarily with the investigation of cryptids.

On their way out, they happen to run into Machias. Halfway through the request they accepted from Epstein Foundation Chief Tio Plato, they are saved by Original Class VII member Alisa Reinford and maid of the Reinford family, Sharon Kreuger.

After they defeated the first cryptid with the help from Sharon and returned to the training area, Class VII watches the arrival of the Special Inspectorate and resumes their duties. On the outskirts of East Crossbell Highway, they run into a mysterious boy that summons a cryptid, but are rescued this time by Original Class VII member Emma Millstein and her familiar, Celine.

That night, Thors Branch Campus heads toward the Orchis Tower to serve as the security for a sudden banquet of the Special Inspectorate. Rean and his students meet with the members of the inspectorate as well as his sister, Elise Schwarzer.

After overhearing a conversation between Musse, Elise and Alfin, Enforcers Campanella and McBurn launch an attack from the rooftop of the tower. Rean and Olivert hurry toward the scene and question their motives, the brand-new Aion Type-β II shows up. Amidst the chaos, Juna exploded with anger not only toward Ouroboros but also toward Erebonia, only for Rufus to reveal that the esteemed members of the Special Support Section are being held captive at Mishelam. As Juna drowns in despair, the two Enforcers vanish with their Aion.

5/20: The next day, Lechter visits the training area to declare the imperial government's order to "investigate the society's goals and resolve the chaos in the area". With Randy and the rest of the Special Support Section unable to move, Rean accepts the order in his stead. Togther with Alisa, Emma and Machias he leaves the training area.

Kurt and Altina stay behind to encourage the dispirited Juna, passing on the message Rean left them with. Together with the support from other students, the message gave Juna the push needed to gather her marbles again. With Musse and Ash tagging along, Class VII set out once again.

Rean finds out that the Stargazers' Tower is where Ouroboros is keeping themselves concealed at through the assistance of Olivier and Tio. They find Campanella and McBurn at the top of the tower. The latter, itching for a fight, holds back nothing and pushes the Thors alumni to their limits. 

That's when Class VII, Musse and Ash come to the rescue, followed by Valimar and Panzer Soldats sent to the top of the tower by Tita and other students, and defeat Ouroboros's Aion. Just when the Enforcers try to warp away, they hear "three" voices from the shadows. They are revealed to belong to the Azure Abyss Clotilde, whose whereabouts have been unknown; the voice recognized by the Original Class VII members belongs to the masked man named Azure Siegfried; and third, next to him, comes from a floating, chrome orb. The three mysterious figures disappeared, each leaving behind a hint or two.

5/21: Members of the Original Class VII and Prince Olivert see Thors Branch Campus off, as they helped Crossbell overcome another one of the society's incidents. As the train prepares for departure, Major Michael informs them that the members of the Special Support Section and their supporters have been safely released from Mishelam. 

From the train window, Rean spots the leader of the Special Support Section, along with two of his supports. They do a fist bump in the air, each hoping that the other fights bravely as they continue their way.

Chapter 3: "The Pulse of Steel ~Profusion of the Sea Capital~"

6/10: Bonds across Thors Branch Campus have strengthened after two field studies. In June, Musse and Ash are transferred to Class VII, increasing not only its number of students to five, but also making the class a lot livelier.

As the students are occupied with the After School activities, Rean wanders around the academy and decides to return to the dormitory. On his way, he runs into his sister Elise, who brings him letters, and his old Thors senior, George Nomes, who has returned from his tour across factories continent-wide. Together with Towa and Celine, the five of them have dinner. That night, Rean reads the letters from his adoptive father, Teo Schwarzer, and Master Yun Ka-fai.

6/11: The next day, the expanded Class VII goes through the training at the Einhel Keep. Afterwards, Rean heads to the briefing for the next field study, which is revealed to be in the Lamarre Province during the opening of the Provincial Council.

The following day, Rean sees off Elise and Celine and heads toward the Panzer Soldat training. Halfway during the training, however, Principal Le Guin shows up in her own Spiegel and challenges the students and their instructor to a match.

After the training Major Michael informs the students about the destination of the new field study. The area is familiar to the two new students of Class VII: Musse grew up in the Port City of Ordis and Ash in the city of Raquel, east of Ordis. Although the students are looking forward to the Ordis Summer Festival, they are also worried about further actions of the society.

On the day of departure, right before the students board the Derfflinger, Principal Le Guin informs them that the students of the main academy are on their way to their first field study in North Ambria with the Courageous. Hearing so makes the Thors Branch Campus students more pumped to demonstrate their willpower than ever before.

6/17: After the Derfflinger arrives at the training area in the early morning, Rean and Class VII start their activities and visit the Juno Naval Fortress, where their liaison for this field study, Brigadier General Wallace Bardias, awaits them. In addition to their normal requests, they are requested to watch out for the jaeger forces that disappeared from various places.

They quickly head to Ordis by bike and carry out the requests. While doing so, they run into a group of jaegers of an unidentified corps. As the jaegers call in for reinforcements, former Class VII members Jusis Albarea and Millium Orion show up to save the group from this predicament.

Rean and Class VII deduce that the jaegers they confronted might have been heading toward Languedoc Valley, so they launch an investigation in Raquel to gather information on the jaegers. Their clues lead them to the valley, where they find the jaeger corps Nidhoggr and the purple jaegers opening fire at one another. In order to obtain more leads, Class VII crosses swords with Nidhoggr until Sara Valestein, instructor of the Original Class VII, and Rean's senior, Angelica Rogner, swing by to help them out. Although they're unable to arrest them, Class VII and their two assistants are able to return to the training area unscathed.

That night, Rean, Sara and Angelica head to Raquel to further investigate the jaegers' actions when they happen to run into Claire Rieveldt. They discover that Rutger Claussell, Xeno and Leonidas are playing games in the casino. Musse and Ash, who slipped in after them with the rest of Class VII, help Rean out to beat the jaegers in a game of Vantage Master. They reveal that the purple jaegers are actually remnants of North Ambria's Northern Jaegers.

6/18: The following day, after they obtained important information in Raquel and both Sara and Claire revealed their pasts to Rean, Jusis Albarea informs the group that Millium has gone missing. Rean and Class VII immediately start an investigation in Ordis and deduce that Millium has gone to Bryonia Island.

Following the discovery of the enormous statue and another run-in with the mysterious girl, they enter the underground Sol Shrine that had just revealed itself. Inside, they find Millium trapped by the Stahlritter as well as another Aion. Whereas the group was able to fight of the Stahlritter alone, it took a turn for the worse when Arianrhod, the seventh Anguis of Ouroboros, joined in.

As Rean unleashes his ogre power and challenges Arianrhod, his power starts to go rampant. Fortunately, former Class VII member Gaius Worzel rushes in to help them. Arianrhod, however, withdraws from the scene as well as Azure Siegfried, who had been watching from the shadows.

6/19: The next morning, the students of Thors Branch Campus woke up to the sounds of canons. Rean promptly accepts Lechter's order to "investigate the society's actions and prevent them from achieving their goal". Wallace and Toval are drawn away from the Juno Naval Fortress by a diversion setup by the former Northern Jaegers.

As Rean and his support arrives at the fort, they run into Zephyr and Siegfried, who have come to challenge Ouroboros, which occupied the fort alongside the Northern Jaegers to carry out a new experiment with the Aion. When Aurelia arrives by airship, however, Rutger and his corps withdraw. Along with Aurelia, both Original and New Class VII and Angelica split in two groups to infiltrate the fort and make their way to the top.

Aion Type-Beta II, the Stahlritter and Arianrhod await them on top of the fortress. The fierce battle that follows results somehow in Arianrhod resting on one knee, followed by a battle between the combined strength of Class VII in Valimar and their Panzer Soldats against the Aion. When the Aion is defeated, Arianrhod summons a translucent Silver Knight and uses it to destroy the Aion, only to warp away alongside the Stahlritter. Astonished, the group returns and start to take care of the aftermath of the incidents together with Wallace, Agate and the rest, who returned from Languedoc Valley.

Later that night, the Provincial Council takes place in the Cayenne castle in Ordis. Aurelia appears with next to her Mildine Juzalith de Cayenne and is tentatively decided upon as Duchess Cayenne as her strongest competitor, Marquis Ballad, is removed from the meeting.

6/20: On the last day of their special training, the Thors Branch Campus staff and students are seen off by the present Original Class VII members, Angelica and acquaintances of Musse and Ash.

That night, as she returns from seeing off the students, Angelica heads to Crow Armbrust's grave at Himmel Cemetery to assure herself of something. She digs up the grave as she prays to the Goddess, and immediately gets the answers to her questions. However, behind her George and a man clothed in black appear to make sure her lips stay zipped.

Chapter 4: "Glimmering Heimdallr"

7/4: As S.1206 reaches July and the heat of the summer becomes intense, Thors Military Academy and Thors Branch Campus prepare themselves for four days of exams. To conclude the exams, Principal Le Guin organised a "joint swimming exercise". The students greatly enjoy themselves as Rean and the rest of the staff change into their swimwear to join in as well.

When Rean returns to his room in the dormitory, Elliot and Gaius contact him with good news that they might be able to assemble all Original Class VII members in Heimdallr. Rean promises to contact them again as he learns more about the next field study, which he'll hear about the next day and ends the call.

7/9: The next day, Class VII are joined by Tita Russell as they explore the Einhel Keep. Afterwards, Rean participates the monthly briefing. The guests this time are bracers Fie and Sara as well as Laura and the Radiant Blademaster himself, Victor S. Arseid. Destination of the next field study is to be revealed as Heimdallr, where the Bracer Guild, both Thors academies and the Courageous under command of the viscount are supposed to collaborate to track down movements from a "certain eastern superpower".

After the briefing has come to a close, Viscount Arseid and Principal Le Guin allow the others to challenge them in a battle. Back in his room, Rean reports to his friends from Class VII that he is able to participate in the reunion in Heimdallr.

The next day, the joined exam results of both academies are announced, with Class VII coming out on top. Rean acknowledges their efforts and together they head toward the Panzer Soldat training. Altina can pilot the enormous Goliath that has been temporarily borrowed from the Imperial Army better than anyone else. However, after the battle she falls into a trance and goes berserk. Rean somehow manages to stop her using Valimar. In the distance, the chrome orb observing the series of events can be seen saying disquieting things.

After they made sure Altina's is okay, Major Michael reveals to the students where their next special training will take them. Rean watches how the others of Class VII encourage the dispirited Altina and is glad how much progress his class has made.

7/15: Rean and Class VII arrive in Heimdallr on the day their special training starts. Governor Carl Regnitz, their liaison in the area, requests them to "apprehend the spies from Calvard" together with Crown Prince Cedric Reise Arnor and other students from Class I. Unexpectedly Chancellor Osborne shows up, inviting both Thors Military Academy and Thors Branch Campus to the upcoming celebration.

Afterwards, Cedric interrupts Class VII's conversation with the governor to invoke a competitive spirit in the Branch Campus students. With that, Class VII starts working on their requests.

For one of the requests, they have to enter Heimdallr's underground network of tunnels. After a fight with a Magic Knight, Class VII spots the Calvard spies. At the end of a frantic chase through the subterranean corridors, they find themselves on Himmel Cemetery with the spies captured by Class I. As the sun sets, activities for their first day have come to an end, so they stop by Crow's grave.

They discover a brooch bearing the crest of the Rogner family and traces of digging at the site of Crow's grave. They immediately contact Towa and as they open up the grave again, they find nothing inside.

Although the situation surrounding Crow's grave invokes a great number of questions, Rean still heads toward the Bracer Guild branch in Heimdallr for the reunion with all Original Class VII members. They are relieved they can live up their promise they had made during their graduation: finding out what the future holds for Erebonia with all members. After catching up, they conclude that they have to "halt the development that leads to war on the surface level, and find out what Ouroboros and the Black Workshop are up to behind the scenes".

7/16: The day after Original Class VII drafted their plans, Rean and New Class VII continue to be on guard for more Calvard agents while doing their best on their other requests. Randy's group report that the agents they had been chasing disappeared before their eyes. Investigating these strange occurences, Original and New Class VII are ultimately led to an enormous 'gate' that appeared in the Catacombs underneath the Imperial Museum.

Passing through the gate takes them to an overwhelmingly different dimension: the Sanctuary of the Dark Dragon, where Hexen Clan leader Roselia and the main cause of the bizarre events, Zoro-Agruga, await them. Roselia entrusts the slaying of the dragon to Original and New Class VII, which they manage after an arduous fight.

When the groups can finally heave a sigh of relief over the defeat of the enormous calamity, Azure Siegfried appears, having witnessed their entire battle. Rean, convinced that Siegfried is actually Crow, challenges him to a duel. Rean is unable to squeeze an answer out of him. Instead, Siegfried grants him another cryptic warning.

With the majority of the party dumbfounded that Siegfried summons Ordine to make his escape, further corroborating the link between Crow and Siegfried, Ash suddenly discovers a small gun on the bust of an unconscious spy. As his left eye aches, he casually hides the gun hoping no one saw him.

Now the incidents with the Dark Dragon and Calvard agents have been resolved, everyone's looking forward to tomorrow's peaceful Summer Festival - although a nagging feeling over the increasingly complex riddles persists.

6/17: The next day, the efforts of both Thors Military Academy and Thors Branch Campus in arresting the Calvard spies were publicly acknowledged by Governor Regnitz in the Heimdallr Racecourse stadium. While the majority of Thors Branch Campus is preparing themselves for the Summer Festival events, Rean is summoned by General Craig, where Rean learns for the first time about his biological father's history, such as Osborne's enrollment at the Imperial Army of Erebonia. Following this conversation, he decides to have a talk with Osborne as well.

That afternoon, Rean hangs out with friends throughout the capital during which he also learn about Lechter's background. As the sun sets, they head toward the Valflame Palace for the celebration. After doing a round of greetings in the main hall, Rean is summoned by Emperor Eugent Reise Arnor III who reveals to him the "curse" of Erebonia.

Knowing the reason why the emperor doesn't stop Osborne's actions, Rean promises him to show him the "way" as he exits the room. Then Osborne appears as if he had been waiting for their conversation to be over, who reveals to Rean the truth of what happened 14 years prior, the reason Osborne survived his assassination and the cause of the ache in Rean's left chest.

Still trembling over his devastatingly revealing conversation with Osborne, Rean returns to the main hall where his friends and students await him, calming him down. As they notice Ash is not among them, Lechter and Claire run off in a hurry, followed by Rean and co. behind them.

Around the same time, Ash, changed into a butler's costume, infiltrates the room with Eugent III and Osborne. With miasma seeping from his left eye, he points his gun at the two officials. Wailingly, he opens fire at the emperor.

The others hear the gunshots as they barge into the emperor's parlour. They find the emperor, lying on the floor with blood gushing from the wounds on his chest, and Ash held down by Osborne, who omits an unknown kind of miasma

Finale: "For Whom The Bell Tolls"

7/18: The following day, media report the tragedy that transpired during the celebration and that the attempted assassination on the emperor's life was a military student suspected to be a Calvard spy. Juna and the other students state that Ash is not someone to go that far and they worry about Altina, who had been summoned by the Intelligence Division.

The imperial government interpreted the attack as a declaration of war from Calvard, announcing that Erebonia will impose a National Mobilisation Law. Osborne's arousing speech raises the fighting spirit of the populace. Realising that Ash had been used to set these developments into motion astonishes Rean and the others.

Thereafter, Emma and Gaius calls the party to the Heimdallr Cathedral, where they meet once again with Roselia and Thomas Lysander, the Gralsritter's second-in-command, who inform them about the "curse" of Erebonia. Then Vita Clotilde makes her appearance, revealing that Ouroboros has pledged alliance to Osborne's group to invoke the Great Twilight.

That moment, they hear a bell ringing from the Karel Imperial Villa. The space around the villa warps and turns into the Gral of Erebos. In order to stop the Great Twilight, Original and New Class VII infiltrate the Gral with the help of all their companions.

Overcoming many hurdles on their way to the bottom of the Gral, they find Osborne and Black Alberich, supervisor of the Black Factory, waiting for them - and with them, the defiled Holy Beast of the Goddess. They face off against the frenzied beast, which ultimately forces Rean and Valimar into a impasse by holding the Zemurian Ore-made tachi in its beak.

Amidst this predicament, the Courageous suddenly show up for help as if they sensed the crisis the Thors students are currently facing. However, the explosives planted by Copper Georg detonate, blowing up the Courageous mid-air with its Prince Olivert, Toval, and Captain Victor still on board.

In a daze over their sudden death, more crisis draws near when Millium dies to protect Rean and Altina, sublimating herself into the Sword of Demise. At that point, Rean's ogre power goes into a frenzy and uses the Sword of Demise to slaughter the Black Holy Beast. By doing so, he completes the Great Twilight he came to stop: invisible, black flames spread across the entire empire, eroding the spirit of the peoples.

In order to subdue the rampaging Valimar, Crow, Rutger and Arianrhod summon their Deus-Excellion. Osborne summons his Jet-black Deus-Excellion as well and tells his son who has now returned:

Well then, Rean. Let us begin to dye the world in despair, the dismal end of the fairy tale.

Characters

Main article: List of Trails of Cold Steel III characters

Main characters

Mechanics

Trails of Cold Steel III replaces the traditional ring command system during battles with a direct command system, in which the directional and action buttons are directly linked to battle actions. It is also the first game in the Kiseki series (not the first Legend of Heroes game[1]) to feature seamless transitions between overworld and battles.

Break System

Trails of Cold Steel III introduces the Break system, which allows players to break through an enemy's defence to inflict greater damage. Each enemy now has a parameter for their breakability, displayed during battles as a 'Break Gauge'. When this gauge is depleted during battles, the enemies enter a 'Break' state until their next attack turn. A broken enemy grants the players the following benefits:

  • Damage to the target is increased
  • Items are dropped upon entering 'Break state'
  • Any parameter boosts on the target are cancelled
  • Target becomes completely unbalanced
Brave Order icon (Sen III)

Brave Order

Main article: List of Brave Orders
Trails of Cold Steel III adds a new use for Brave Points, which were first introduced in Trails of Cold Steel to perform link attacks between two or more characters. The new feature Brave Order (directional button up) allows characters to execute party-wide orders for a specific number of counts or turns.[2]
Juna Crawford - Striker Mode (Sen III)

Juna Crawford's gunbreakers in Striker Mode.

Style Change

Juna Crawford - Gunner Mode (Sen III)

Juna Crawford's gunbreakers in Gunner Mode.

Juna Crawford is the only party member in Trails of Cold Steel III who make use of Style Change (directional button right).She can switch between Striker Mode and Gunner Mode.

In Striker Mode, she uses her gunbreakers as if they are baton and attacks close-range. In Gunner Mode, her stats are lowered but she can target multiple enemies at once from a distance.

Development

Announcement

Trails of Cold Steel III was first mentioned as "the next installment of the Sen no Kiseki series" by Falcom president Toshihiro Kondo in an interview with Dengeki PlayStation in May 2015. During Falcom's annual investor's meeting in December 2015, the tentative logo was revealed and confirmed that the game was in development.[3]

Shortly after the release of Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana in July 2016, Kondo was featured another interview with Dengeki PlayStation in which the described the development stage of Trails of Cold Steel III as "heavily underway". He also mentioned that while the game is primarily developed for PlayStation 4, a port for PlayStation Vita (similar to how its predecessors were ported from PlayStation 3 to PlayStation Vita) is a technical possibility. The question as to whether Rean Schwarzer will return as the protagonist of the game, Kondo simply stated that the protagonist and outline of the story had been decided.

Teases

Afterglow - Key Visual (Sen III)

Rean 's design as originally shown in Tokyo Xanadu eX+.

On August 10, 2016, Falcom posted on Twitter that fans should "look carefully as [Tokyo Xanadu eX+ protagonist] Kou runs through the Star Camera",[4] which upon analysis reveals the first key visual of Trails of Cold Steel III. The picture features a slightly older Rean Schwarzer wearing a white coat, holding his tachi in front of him. A reflection of his backside can be seen mirrored behind him.

In an interview regarding Tokyo Xanadu eX+'s upcoming release with Famitsu Weekly, Kondo states that Trails of Cold Steel III will become a milestone in the series, with characters from the Liberl and Crossbell arc making their reappearance. It will be a leap forward compared to previous titles and the scenario is said to be enormous.
Alisa Reinford (Sen III, ad)

Alisa Reinford's design as promoted in an advertisement for Falcom's Winter Fair 2016.

In Falcom's advertisement for their annual Winter Fair,[5] they prominently portrayed Alisa Reinford's new model for Trails of Cold Steel III. In the background, the Bracer Guild sign of the East Street in Crossbell can be seen, indicating that the game will partially take place in Crossbell. The sett on the street seem to have been replaced with asphalt. Since both Rean's artwork and Alisa's model look significantly older than their counterparts in previous instalments, it is assumed Trails of Cold Steel III will take place after a time skip, most likely to deal with the liberation of Crossbell early S.1207.

Reveal

During the Nihon Falcom shareholder meeting on December 20, Falcom officially unveiled Trails of Cold Steel III for the PlayStation 4. In addition to its logo and a release date of Autumn 2017, they indicate the game takes place in the second half of S.1206 and released five screenshots.

In these screenshots, we see a new group of protagonists in dark-coloured Thors uniforms. The traditional battle circle has been replaced with a new battle interface where the directions buttons and functional buttons make selecting attacks easier. Combat Links and therefore ARCUS will return. A new battle mechanic shown is the Order command, accessed by pressing up on the directional button. By setting an Order command, it seems that it alters certain parameters during battle, unlike the Remote Ability in Trails in the Sky The 3rd. The fight takes place in a yet unknown location; the store Pawn Shop - McEnroe sign in the background has not yet appeared in the series. The area looks familiar to the last of these six screenshots.

Rean Schwarzer can be seen running through a re-designed version of Crossbell City's The East Street, passing by the Bracer Guild and Exchange Shop - Neinvall, which moved there from Downtown. Alisa Reinford can be seen in a second screenshot of Crossbell. The townscape in the screenshots suggests that Crossbell expanded in the eastward direction. The seventh screenshot features 2 new characters who works alongside with Rean; a blue haired male character wielding a knight's sword and appears to be from a noble family, and a pink haired female character wielding a Tonfa, she is expected to be speed oriented rather than power.

The last two screenshots were taken in new locations. The first one features a young woman affiliated with the Thors Military Academy welcoming the spectator in Ordis, provincial capital of Lamare. In the background a Kleist Mall can be seen. On the last screenshot, Sara Valestein is seen sneaking up on presumably Lechter Arundel in a yet unseen location. The antiquity of buildings, dirt on the walls and yet unseen Pub & Inn - Hermit sign may suggest that this is Saint-Arkh, the provincial capital of Sutherland and the last provincial capital to be confirmed in-game.

Promotional roll-out

Falcom announced that the limited edition of Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana for PlayStation 4 would feature an exclusive artbook with artwork of the upcoming Trails of Cold Steel III. Through the teasers Falcom posted, it was found that Cold Steel III would mark the return of Barkhorn and the introduction of locations Ordis, Juno Fortress and long-awaited Parm.

Dengeki PlayStation 639 Cover (Sen III)

Dengeki PlayStation Issue 639 featured Trails of Cold Steel III and Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana on its cover.

After the initial announcement and introduction of core characters, RPG Site editor HDKirin reported that through directory diving the names of new characters had been found on the website of Trails of Cold Steel III.[6] The first of these, Musse Egret, Ash Carbide, Towa Herschel, Aurelia Le Guin and Major Michael, were officially announced in the Dengeki PlayStation and Famitsu issue of April 27, 2017 (637). The return of Trails in the Sky characters Agate Crosner and Tita Russell as well as Professor G. Schmidt were announced in the Dengeki PlayStation and Famitsu issue of May 11, 2017 (638). This issue also set the release date of the game on September 28, 2017 and announced a limited edition 'Kiseki Box'.[7] Two recurring characters from Zero and Ao no Kiseki, Randolph Orlando and Tio Plato, were announced alongside Olivert Reise Arnor in the Dengeki PlayStation Issue of May 25, 2017 (639). The subsequent issue of the magazine, June 8, 2017 (640), was completely dedicated to Ouroboros, confirming the return of Enforcers Campanella, McBurn, Shirley Orlando; Anguis Arianrhod and her commanding Stahlritter, Duvalie, Ennea and Ines. Following that, the next issue, on June 22, 2017 (641), showcased Elise Schwarzer, Alfin Reise Arnor, and Cedric Reise Arnor.

Ys VIII bonuses

The limited edition of Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana for PlayStation 4 was released on May 25, 2017 and contained an artbook featuring artwork from Trails of Cold Steel III, called Trails of Cold Steel III Confidential Material Book ~Erebonian Empire 1206~.

The booklet featured official artwork used in promotional artwork before as well as concept art for the main characters, new concept artwork for Red Moon Rose, the Northern War, the aforementioned locations and rough artwork for the side characters: aforementioned Barkhorn; Class VIII students Jessica and Kairi, returning Crossbell characters Shan Shan and Shing; returning Erebonia characters Hugo Kleist, Beatrix, Alan and Vivi; Juna Crawford's mother and sister; and an unnamed woman with auburn hair holding a basket. KeA, who was initially teased in Falcom's promotional material,[8] was not included in the artbook.

For the promotion of Ys VIII's release, Falcom prominently displayed a stand in the Sofmap in Akihabara that contained a screen that played a video for Trails of Cold Steel III, marking the first time the game was shown in action.[9][10]
Kiseki Box - Combined (Sen III)

First-print edition of Trails of Cold Steel III

Cover art reveal

In its weekly website update on June 29, 2017, Falcom revealed the cover art for the standard edition and first-print edition of the game, as well as the contents of the first-print edition. The screenshot of the artbook reveals the return of St. Astraia Girls' School alumna Annabel, Thors Military Academy alumna Dorothee, Kurt's mother Aurier Vander and Red Constellation member Gareth.

On July 13, 2017, Falcom revealed the designs for the Original Class VII members through Dengeki PlayStation issue 642. Alisa Reinford, Elliot Craig, Laura S. Arseid, Jusis Albarea and Machias Regnitz were added to the website, followed by Fie Claussell, Emma Millstein, Celine, Gaius Worzel and Millium Orion a week later.

Falcom publicly released the first footage of Trails of Cold Steel III in a 15-second commercial on July 20, 2017.[11] The day after, the company revealed that they would be working together with Sony to release a limited PlayStation 4, featuring an original engraving on its vinyl.

On July 27, 2017, gaming magazines revealed the supporters of Original Class VII: Sara Valestein (who had already showed up in the initial batch of screenshots and again in the aforementioned commercial), Sharon Kreuger, Victor S. Arseid, Angelica Rogner and George Nome. The same issue provided details on the new additions to the mecha battle system, including all Thors Branch Campus being able to pilot Panzer Soldats. This information was added to the Trails of Cold Steel III website a week later on August 3.

In teasing their new Falcom Magazine on August 7, Falcom revealed the identities of the so-called Infiltrators that appeared in the leak through directory diving the Trails of Cold Steel III website:[6] Vita Clotilde acting separately from Ouroboros; Azure Siegfried who resembles a masked Crow Armbrust and is recognised as such by the Original Class VII members; and Red Roselia, who bears a strong resemble to the eponymous heroine of Red Moon Rose and appeared alongside a Gralsritter in the 15-second commercial. The issue also reveals that Rutger Claussell, the leader of jaeger corps Zephyr who was believed to be dead, has taken back his old position as leader of the corps. Furthermore, the issue features a first glimpse at Rufus Albarea and Claire Rieveldt's new character designs, which were revealed on August 24, alongside Giliath Osborne and Lechter Arundel. One week prior, on August 18, Falcom released a video with music samples of the soundtrack that comes with the limited edition.

It is unknown whether Black Alberich, previously found alongside Azure Siegfried and Red Roselia, is actually Vita Clotilde or Rutger Claussell, or a yet unannounced character.

Retailer bonuses

Image Description Store
Altina Kitty - Geo Bonus (Sen III)
Cute Noir

DLC that changes Altina's outfit.

Have Altina wear the cute, cat-styled swimsuit forced upon her by Millium.

GEO
Musse Swimsuit - Amazon Bonus (Sen III)
Coquettish Blue

DLC that changes Musse's outfit.

Change into the refreshing, cute outfit picked with Instructor Rean in mind.

Amazon
Juna Crossbell Cheer - Tsutaya Bonus (Sen III)
Crossbell Cheer

DLC that changes Juna's outfit.

Change into a costume Juna used to wear during extracurricular activities at the Crossbell Police Academy.

Tsutaya
Class VII's Return - Key Visual (Sen III)
Original B2 sized tapestry (KISEKI BOX only) and DLC Item Set A. Sofmap
Wondergoo Bonus (Sen III)
B2 sized tapestry drawn by Sagara Riri.
DLC Item Set A BIC Camera/Kojima
DLC Item Set A Tay Two
DLC Item Set B Yamada Denki
DLC Item Set B Joshin
DLC Item Set C Yodobashi Camera
DLC Item Set C Edion
Tita, Agate & Schmidt - Imagine Bonus (Sen III)
A1 sized poster Imagine
Orbment Keyholder - Chara-Ani Bonus (Sen III)
Original Orbment Key Holder Chara-Ani
Rean & Altina - Trader Bonus (Sen III)
Original B2 tapestry Trader
Musse - Pao Bonus (Sen III)
Original B2 tapestry PAO
Promides - Stellaworth Bonus (Sen III)
Set of 2 original promides Stellaworth
Clear Files - Enterking Bonus (Sen III)
Original A4 Clear File Enterking
Afterglow - Key Visual (Sen III)
Omnipage Original irogami Kougado
Crossbell of Conflict - Key Visual (Sen III)
Original A3 Clear Poster Animate
Exceed!! - Key Visual (Sen III)
Original B2 Tapestry Gamers
Takarajima Bonus (Sen III)
Alisa Reinford microfiber cloth (200mm × 400mm) Game Shop Takarajima
Tita - Amiami Bonus (Sen III)
Original Tita acrylic figurine Ami Ami
Juna SSS - Dengekiya Bonus (Sen III)
DLC that changes Juna's outfit into Lloyd's outfit.
  • Derfflinger B2 Tapestry
  • Rean's character file notebook
  • Original shoulder bag
  • Original T-Shirt
Dengeki
PS Store Bonus (Sen III)
  1. PlayStation 4 theme
  2. Mini soundtrack
  3. DLC that changes Rean's outfit to his Cold Steel II outfit
PlayStation Store
Keychain - Falcom Bonus (Sen III)
Thors Branch Campus leather keychain Falcom

Gallery

References

  1. The PC versions of the Gagharv trilogy games also featured a seamless transition between exploration and battles. Source: https://www.esterior.net/2017/05/928-release-date-for-sen-no-kiseki-iii-tita-and-agate-unveiled/
  2. Source text: https://www.esterior.net/2017/05/928-release-date-for-sen-no-kiseki-iii-tita-and-agate-unveiled/
  3. https://twitter.com/finalbeta/status/676988321420152832
  4. https://twitter.com/nihonfalcom/status/763241650634170368
  5. https://twitter.com/nihonfalcom/status/801613589320593409
  6. 6.0 6.1 https://twitter.com/HDKirin/status/844373678380875776
  7. https://www.esterior.net/2017/05/928-release-date-for-sen-no-kiseki-iii-tita-and-agate-unveiled/
  8. https://twitter.com/nihonfalcom/status/824123543231361024
  9. https://twitter.com/nihonfalcom/status/867576704578891776
  10. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAIqERVe63s
  11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFN1pZB2_GM
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