Final Fantasy XIV - The Story So Far - Episode 1: Beginnings

By Giuseppe Nelva

November 14, 2012

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn won’t just be a relaunch of Final Fantasy XIV, but also a direct sequel set five years after the events that ended the first game. With Final Fantasy XIV now closed, many missed the chance to enjoy its story. Since the two games will be deeply linked, knowing the story behind Final Fantasy XIV will most probably enhance the enjoyment of A Realm Reborn

Final Fantasy XIV – The Story So Far is a weekly episodic column that will tell the tale of the heroes of Eorzea, from the very beginning to the final, climatic battle against the 7th Imperial Legion. It will also include the cutscenes of the main storyline (and a few relevant extras). If you didn’t play Final Fantasy XIV, when you saw the beautiful The End of an Era trailer, you probably asked yourself who the characters portrayed are, and how they gathered together to fight against the Empire. This is your chance to know in order to better enjoy A Realm Reborn when it’ll be released.

This column will follow the story from the point of view of a character hailing from the city state of Ul’dah and belonging to the Immortal Flames grand company.  Some of the cutscenes for the other cities and grand companies are different, as the story branches, but the general events and characters are the same. For narrative purposes the main character is named Abriael (after the author’s personal toon), but of course the story applies to any character in the game. 

You can also read the following episodes: Episode 2: Awakening, Episode 3: ConfrontationEpisode 4: A New Beginning, Episode 5: MadnessEpisode 6: UnitedEpisode 7: End of an EraExtra Episode: Agent of Enquiry.

Chapter 1: Flowers for All

(It’s advisable to watch the videos in full screen with the resolution pushed up to 1080p, in order to better enjoy the visuals and dialogue)

Why Ratchet & Clank is the Most Important PS5 Game

Abriael was sitting in one of those noisy and rocking chocobo coaches, half asleep due to the boring trip from the ferry port. Roused by the sounds of voices and by the change from the rough surface of the path to a paved street, he realized that he had finally reached the glorious city of Ul’Dah.

Without warning, as he was stepping down from the vehicle, an unknown and mysterious voice echoed in his mind waking him up completely from the last relics of drowsiness. “Feel, Think…” As he looked skywards, stormy clouds suddenly appeared and opened to reveal a swarm of meteors dropping from the heavens.

Entranced, he was brought back to reality by the cheerful voice of a child. The meteors were gone, replaced by fireworks exploding in the sky. Further investigation revealed that no one else around him heard the voice or saw the startling phenomenon.  The crowd was too busy preparing for the upcoming parade, anyway.

Soon the procession started, brightened by music and dancing, and made more interesting by gigantic floats carrying beasts made tame by magic. Abriael was duly impressed, but his attention was soon diverted to a lovely Miqo’te holding a basket of flowers, intent in distributing them to the audience. Just afterwards, the lady was joined by a young Elzen bearing an intellectual look, a Roegadyn and two Lalafells that Looked like twins.

The  silver-haired Miqo’te moved to the child that Abriael had met just a few minutes before, tasking her with distributing the flowers in her stead, before she leaped on top of one of the floats, entrancing the crowd with her own merry dance. She was obviously popular, and quite well known among the audience. A young Hyuran with a strange tattoo on his neck referred to her as “The Songstress of Ul’dah”.

Suddenly, the sound of a horn echoed across the street, startling a hulking gobbue that was standing on a float, subdued by a magical collar issued by a Thaumaturge. The spellcaster tried to reinforce the spell, but didn’t act in time. The beast broke free and slammed the helpless mage off the float, before crashing on the one over which the Miqo’te was dancing.

As the raging Gobbue spread panic among the audience, Abriael, the tattooed man and the Elzen with glasses joined forces to protect the lady and gave the monster a good trashing. Unfortunately, that wasn’t nearly enough to subdue something as large and powerful as a Gobbue, that just ran away, rampaging through the ancient streets of the city.

The monster charged through the crowd, homing directly on the flower-bearing child that Abriael had met before. She was saved at the very last moment by her father, that leapt on her and shielded her with his own body. He wasn’t as lucky, though, as the impact left him unconscious on the street, while the Gobbue’s charge ended abruptly, smashed against a solid wall.

Chapter 2: Court in the Sands

Still startled by the events of the parade, Abriael walked into the Qicksand, the local branch of the Adventurer’s Guild that also housed the Hourglass, a famous inn. There he met Momodi, the proprietress and a lady of apparently towering influence within the city walls.

They were also joined by the tattooed man, that introduced himself as Tancred the Bard, and didn’t waste the chance of using his charms on the lady. The conversation turned ominous, though, as the possibility of a war against the Garlean Empire from the north was mentioned.

As Tancred left, Momodi turned her attention back to Abriael, encouraging him to attune himself with the Aetheryte at Camp Black Brush, just outside the city. Aetherytes were giant crystals of mysterious origin scattered across the land, holding the strange power of teleporting people. Abriael complied, as debating the lady’s instructions didn’t really seem wise.

Upon his return Momodi encouraged the young adventurer to visit some of the guilds operating in the city. After all money was the most important element in the greed-driven Ul’dahn society. Looking for odd jobs was a priority that could not be delayed further.

The first stop was Ehstaime’s Lapidaries, the Goldsmith’s guild, where Abriael hoped to sell a flower he obtained during the parade, that turned out to be a rare Velodyna Cosmos. At the guild Abriael met the Elzen from earlier, that introduced himself as Niellefresne, son of the proprietor of the establishment. He appraised the flower and provided a token sum of Gil.

He explained that the flower used to be precious, but its rarity diminished as Ul’dah started to trade with the neighboring city-state of Gridania. Though trade would certainly be hampered if a war against the Empire was to break out.

The next stop on Abriael’s money-seeking tour was the Coliseum, where he met the Roegadyn that he saw in Niellefresne’s company during the parade. The boastful Greinfarr immediately hired the adventurer for a match, and while he lost, Abriael still managed to catch the Roegadyn’s eye, and was offered further employment.

After his visit to the coliseum Abriael contacted Momodi via linkpearl, and was advised to stop at the Amajina & Sons Mineral Concern, the local Miners’ guild. There he found the beautiful Miqo’te from the parade, learning that her name was F’lhaminn. Her singing was interrupted by an altercation between two miners and Corguevais, the thaumaturge that failed to control the Gobbue during the parade (apparently the world is quite small, even in large cities). The two men were accusing him of trespassing into the mines to steal valuable gems and ores.

Unable to turn down F’lhaminn’s request for help, Abriael drew the attention of the enraged miners on himself. The two troublemakers were about to attack him, when Amajna’s sons, Popokkuli and Seserukka, intervened, demonstrating surprising strength by kicking them out of the front door.

Corguevais told F’lhaminn that he was expecting to be exiled for his blunder during the parade, and the Miqo’te promised him that she’d try to avert that kind of penalty. In the meanwhile Abriael was tasked with returning to Camp Black Brush, where many of the poor living outside the city walls settled.  He was to communicate to the camp leader that the punishment for trespassing in the mines was to become more severe. F’lhaminn offered to accompany him.

Upon reaching the camp, Abriael was surprised to find the child that was almost hit by the Gobbue earlier. She laid wounded on the ground, and was promptly cured by Corguevais. Ascilia – that was the name of the kid – reacted in less than a friendly way, accusing her rescuer of having caused her father’s wound.

Tancred joined the group, and explained that Warburton – Ascilia’s father – was being taken care of at Frondale’s Phrontistery, the Alchemists’ guild. Then he left with the child.

The camp leader proved less than collaborative upon receiving Abriael’s message, but revealed that a great disaster once occurred in Ul’dah’s mines, and that was the reason for the strict security.

Upon returning to the city, Momodi warned Abriael that disaster had struck again, and many wounded from the mines were being nursed at Frondale’s Phrontistery. She encouraged him to go and see if he could find some work lending his help.

At the Alchemists’ guild the adventurer met the local physician Master Faustigeant. He looked upon the newcomer with a certain degree of disdain, but nonetheless sent him to make the rounds of the sickrooms.

During this task Abriael happened upon the room where Warburton was being held. He had just passed away, with Ascilia crying over his body. While Corguevais tried to comfort her, the young child revealed that her father had said that the city was in great danger, but she knew no details on what such danger entailed.

Master Faustigeant demanded an enormous sum for his medical assistance, but, since no one could pay, he encouraged them to just dump the corpse outside the city. That solution wasn’t of course acceptable, as bodies that aren’t properly buried turn into zombies and roam the land even after death.

Chapter 3: Golden Sacrifices

Back to the Qicksand Abriael met Momodi, that, as most inkeepers, tended to be quite the professional busybody. She told him that a man that had trespassed into the mines had just been exiled, and that another man that used to inquire on the warding properties of the Velodyna Cosmos had suffered the same fate. Apparently the flower was rumored to have the power to protect against monsters.

The Lalafell reflected on the fact that Niellefresne had gone to great lengths to gather as many of the flowers as possible. Tancred joined the conversation, observing thoughtfully that the flowers were distributed to the audience during the parade, and wondering on the reason for such an action.

Momodi also shared that Niellefresne and his group found evidence of the presence of Garlean spies in the city, and they had been meeting in secret to decide what to do about that at a gambling hall named Platinum Mirage. Tancred left in a hurry.

Always the businesswoman, Momodi directed Abriael himself to the Platinum Mirage, as a job opportunity had opened there.

Taking up the fortuitous chance Abriael went to the establishment. Once inside he witnessed an argument between Niellefresne and Tancred. The former accused the latter of cheating while gambling, and the bard retaliated by encouraging the goldsmith to lay bare his plans about the perspective of war with the Empire.

Tancred revealed that he had traveled Northeast to witness the fate of the city-state of Ala Migho, conquered by Garlean forces, with his own eyes. He reasoned that many, within the city, would welcome open hostilities against the empire and finally accused Niellefresne and his group to be intentionally fanning the flames of war.

Things took a turn for the worse as Tancred clearly stated his conclusions, saying that the incident at the parade was a ruse planned by Niellefresne, that went as far as endangering the people in order to be able to play the savior in the hour of need and gain favor in the city, causing Warburton’s death in the process.

Niellefresne reacted with disdain, but his companions were shocked by the news of the man’s demise. As they left, the goldsmith didn’t pick up his chips from the table, high-handedly encouraging Tancred to use them for Warburton’s funeral.

Just afterwards Momodi informed Abriael that F’lhaminn was looking for him. He managed to track her on the plateau north of the city, where Popokkuli and Seserukka seemed to be bent on persuading her to marry one of them, while she didn’t look overly interested in their proposal.

As they left, Abriael and the Miqo’te were joined by Ascilia, that boasted her newfound skills as a treasure huntress around the mines. Corguevais appeared as well, revealing that him and Warburton were bound by the same mission and trying to offer the coin for his funeral, the same that Tancred had won against Niellefresne. Unfortunately the child refused firmly. F’lhaminn promised to persuade her, and the thaumaturge left.

The beautiful songstress then turned to Abriael, asking him to investigate on the local Thaumaturges’ guild at the Arrzaneth Ossuary, as they were rumored to know ways to commune with the dead, and maybe even resurrect them.

While visiting the Arrzaneth Ossuary Abriael met the Guildmaster Mumuepo, that used hypnosis in order to learn that he had been sent by F’lhaminn. He also revealed that his order possessed no means to raise the dead.

During Warburton’s burial ceremony Mumuepo told F’lhaminn herself the same thing, while Abriael noticed Niellefresne lurking in a corner. The Elzen denied his involvement once again and left, while the guild master tasked Corguevais with settling the matter, since he was from Ala Migho like Warburton. He also encouraged Abriael to join the Thaumaturges himself if he wanted to study the possibility to commune with the dead further, as no one before had managed to get any result in such a task.

Chapter 4: Calamity Cometh

The ever-meddling Momodi informed Abriael that a group from the city guard left the city in a hurry from the Chocobo stables, and the young adventurer immediately walked there to see if he could discover their destination. The stable master revealed that an Imperial agent had been spotted near the mines, and that was the reason for the commotion.

F’lhaminn joined them in a hurry, explaining that Corguevais had taken Ascilia with him out of the city. They all departed on a Chocobo coach to try and catch up, in order to learn what the shady Thaumaturge was up to.

They finally found him just in time to see him confronted by Niellefresne, Greinfarr, Popokkuli and Seserukka. Corguevais revealed that he had planned to bring the child back to her ancestral home, as her life would be forfeit if she remained in Ul’dah.

He accused Niellefresne and his companions of Warburton’s murder, and Ascilia revealed in her rage that Ul’dah was facing a danger much worse than the empire. While they tried to inquire further, Corguevais blew into the horn that had caused the Gobbue to go mad – and that he had somehow managed to acquire – summoning a swarm of Minemites to cover his retreat.

While he escaped, Ascilia tripped, but he callously left her to her doom. Luckily F’lhaminn shielded her with her own body, suffering a wound in her stead, while Abriael and the others disposed of the attacking beasts with extreme prejudice.

F’lhaminn was carried to the Phrontistery in order to be treated. There Abriael met the young elzen alchemist Damielliot, that seemed to be sick due to a reaction to some medicine. In the meanwhile Niellefresne and his companions had gathered in the Miqo’te room, theorizing that Corguevais could have ben a garlean spy. F’lhaminn suggested to talk with Tancred, but unfortunately the bard had just been exiled.

As usual Momodi came to the rescue, suggesting that a recent exile had been signted near Camp Black Brush. Abriael managed to find Tancred at the same time as the city guard did. Greinfarr revealed that Niellefresne wanted to uncover the danger that threatened the city, and was planning to resurrect Warburton in order to question him. Abriael and Tancred immediately made haste back to the city.

At the Ossuary Abriael met a lady named Minfilia, but their conversation was interrupted by Tancred, that urged the adventurer to follow him into the crypt where Warburton was buried. There they found Niellefresne laying on the cold floor, grievously wounded.

Ascilia was sitting in a corner, holding a broken gem in shock As Abriael extended a hand to touch it, a sudden seizure made him faint, the power of the Echo within him making him witness what had just happened: Niellefresne had been murdered in cold blood by an unknown assailant after having consorted with Mumuepo in order to resurrect Warburton.

Suddenly Abriael returned to the present, facing the surprised Tancred that had witnessed the power of the Echo himself. The bard ran out  of the crypt and looked up at the sky, where dark storm clouds blackened the sky, and a rain of meteors began to fall in all directions. He suddenly realized that the danger of which Ascilia had spoke didn’t just threaten the city, but all of Eorzea.

Abriael tried to escape the crypt himself, but suddenly fainted. He regained consciousness in his room at the inn, where Momodi told him that a lady named Minfilia had carried him there and asked for him to join her at the Waking Sands in the Merchants Ward  when he felt better.

And here we pause for this episode. If you’re eager to know how the story continues, and to see more of the lovely cutscenes that accompanied it, all you have to do is to come back next Wednesday and read Episode 2 of Final Fantasy XIV – The Story So Far. This column will appear on DualShockers once a week until we’ll reach the epic climax that will carry us over to A Realm Reborn.

You can also read the following episodes: Episode 2: AwakeningEpisode 3: ConfrontationEpisode 4: A New Beginning, Episode 5: MadnessEpisode 6: UnitedEpisode 7: End of an EraExtra Episode: Agent of Enquiry.

See you next week, and if you have any further question about the story, do ask in the comments. 

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know

Gaming Trailers

World War Z: Aftermath | Gameplay Overview Trailer
Diablo® II: Resurrected™ | Necromancer Class Trailer
Giuseppe Nelva

Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.

Read more of Giuseppe's articles

Got a tip?

Let us know