Final Fantasy XIV – The Story So Far – Episode 5: Madness
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.
As we delve deeper into the second arc of the story of Final Fantasy XIV, we learn more about Cid and finally meet two characters that will play a very important role from now on. You can read the other episodes here: Episode 1: Beginnings, Episode 2: Awakening, Episode 3: Confrontation, Episode 4: A New Beginning, Episode 6: United, Episode 7: End of an Era, Extra Episode: Agent of Enquiry.
Chapter 15: Cid
After accomplishing a few missions for all three grand companies that sent him in the depths of dungeons in the Black Shroud and Cohertas to recover imperial devices, disrupt Garlean operations and rescue endangered operatives, Abriael went back to the headquarters of the Maelstrom in Limsa Lominsa. There he was informed that a band of pirates named Hollow Barons was sent on a classified mission to Thanalan in order to “acquire” the Ceruleum that would have served as fuel for the Maelstrom’s new flagship. However, there was reason of concern over their behavior.
Upon meeting with the pirates and taking part in a skirmish against the Immortal flames, Abriael learned that the main force led by the captain was already en route to the Ceruleum Fields. He did his best to catch up, but when he did, the pirates had already been discovered by a patrol of the Flames and another battle was imminent.
Just as things were starting to go really wrong Cid Garlond, owner and chief engineer of the Garlond Ironworks, appeared on the scene and reprimanded both parties, reminding them that Ceruleum was an highly volatile substance, and that even a mere spark could have caused disastrous consequences. He told them that they should rather worry about the smaller moon Dalamud becoming red and larger in the sky – Something that Abriael had noticed himself – a phenomena that had upset the balance of life and matter in Eorzea, causing the weather to become unpredictable, monsters to grow larger and crystals to lose their elemental aspect.
After the two opposing bands retreated, Cid had a chat with Abriael, revealing that he was indeed not a stranger to the Garlean Empire, but a refugee escaped from there. Not a mere refugee either, as he was the one that designed the machina that the empire used. That was, though, in the past, as he had come to Eorzea to fight against the empire and an even bigger threat represented by Dalamud, as millions of people could perish if what he feared came to pass.
Disturbed by Cid’s words Abriael moved on to Gridania to undertake another mission for the Order of the Twin Adder. He was sent to Stillglade Fane, where Bowlord Lewin revealed that the whispers of the elementals indicated an immense destructive force sent into the heavens from Ala Mhigo, and that, fearing a connection with Dalamud’s changes, a spy named Arthur was sent to the fallen city state in order to investigate. Abriael was to meet with Arthur and receive his report.
The adventurer found Arthur besieged by monsters, but Cid appeared on the scene again, throwing a flare that scared the beasts away. Surprisingly Arthur lashed out at the engineer, accusing him because of his Imperial origins, since his Magitek weapons had been used to conquer Ala Mhigo and enslave its people. He also mentioned horrible atrocities that were being perpetrated by the Garleans. Lewin intervened, knocking out the spy before he could cause harm to Cid.
Afterwards Cid had another talk with Abriael, revealing that Arthur didn’t discover anything about the destructive force sent into the sky, but the new fortifications being built in Ala Mhigo, the arms race and the extensive drilling of new Imperial forces shown that the new Garlean Legatus was definitely up to no good, and it probably was linked to the other events happening in Eorzea.
After traveling back to Ul’Dah to check in with the Immortal Flames. Abriael was sent to the Garlond Ironworks to investigate on the whereabouts of one Charledore, an elzen that had a secret contract with the Flames to provide sensitive information. Unfortunately all contacts had halted, and Flame Lieutnant Aubrey was fearing the worst.
At the Ironworks Abriael learned that Charledore had been discovered an Imperial spy, and had fled with precious documents on the Ironworks, on the Flames and on Ul’Dah itself. The adventurer immediately departed to pursue the spy, catching up with him near the ferry to Limsa Lominsa.
As he confronted Charledore, Cid also appeared, and the spy called him a traitor, before hailing the Empire and legatus Nael Van Darnus, that was probably the one who sent him. After that, he took his own life by diving off the cliffs into the sea below.
Speaking with Cid Abriael learned that if Nael Van Darnus was involved, then the movements of the Empire spoke clearly of a connection with Dalamud’s changes. Van Darnus, nicknamed the White Raven, was Legatus of the VII Imperial Legion and the most ruthless and fearsome between the Empire’s generals. The Engineer also told Abriael that the time for choices had come, as the three Grand Companies would soon approach him with proposals of exclusive enrollment.
Chapter 16: It Kills with Fire
And that time indeed came. Faced with the option to chose only one of the Grand Companies and finally raise in its ranks, Abriael opted for the Immortal Flames. While he admired Kan-E-Senna’s sweet and motherly approach to rule and definitely found Merlwyb’s inner fire and determination charming, he felt more akin with Raubahn’s inclination for direct action and strong leadership.
After receiving his new rank, the new Flame was told that the thaumaturges of the Arrzaneth Ossuary claimed that the Primal Ifrit was behind the recent changes exhibited by Dalamud. Abriael was to travel to Gridania and met with one Louisoux, an elzen native of Sharlayan that was rumored to hold the secret to defeating Primals.
Louisoux saw Abriael’s plea with favor, and explained that he presided over a fellowship named the Circle of Knowing. While the other members of the Circle were a mystery, a certain tattoo carried by the wizened elzen definitely looked familiar. Louisoux also revealed that some of the Primals were draining the land of aether to sustain their presence in the mortal plane. Someone had to vanquish them, or the power of the crystals would be exhausted and Eorzea would be reduced to a barren wasteland.
The elzen sent Abriael to seek the echo crystals of four mighty beasts, which the elzen fused using his magic into a harmonizing crystal that would grant access to the Bowl of Embers, Ifrit’s Sanctuary. The adventurer also had to subdue the Amalj’aa Voidtongue Ahzabb Chah in order to recover a sacred relic named Inferno Flambeau, required to summon the primal.
Finally ready to confront Ifrit, Abriael joined forces with three other adventurers and entered the Bowl of Embers. There, after a terrible battle, the Lord of Inferno was defeated, but celebration of the unexpected victory was cut short by the sudden appearance of Nael van Darnus himself, escorted by his imperial retinue.
Van Darnus, apparently quite delighted by Abriael’s victory over Ifrit, talked about the domination of the Empire and then proceeded to speak the cryptic words of the prophecy that was already heard from the mouth of Urianger, about the crimson star that would purge Eorzea of all life. As van Darnus moved to execute him, Abriael barely managed to escape certain death delivered by the Legatus’ gunhalberd Bradamante.
Chapter 17: Like Father, Like Son
Returned to Ul’dah, Abriael was alerted about Imperial troops that had swooped down from their position at Silvertear Falls in Mor Dhona and were marching on Thanalan. He was dispatched to join the Free Brigade of the Immortal Flames led by High Commander Jakys Ryder, in order to intercept the Imperials.
The battle was swift and brutal, and as Abriael interrogated one of the prisoners. he was suddenly whisked away by the power of the Echo. The connection with the Imperial shown him a vision of the past, that had happened at the sanctuary of the god Thaliak in Mor Dhona.
The adventurer witnessed a confrontation between Cid and Nael van Darnus. The Legatus called the engineer with his real Imperial name, Cid nan Garlond, and demanded him to reveal the secrets of the ancient Allagan civilization. Cid inquired if van Darnus really wanted to revive the power named Meteor and use it to bring down Dalamud on Eorzea.
The Legatus praised the work of Cid’s father, Midas nan Garlond, calling him a genius and a patriot, but the Engineer defied him by stating that all his father was able to obtain was the obliteration of Bozja Citadel, alongside with all the literature about Allag, a device called Lunar Transmitter, the testing facilities and his own life. If Dalamud were to really fall, everything would be reduced to ash and dust, causing nothing else than death and oblivion.
The following squabble ended with van Darnus attacking Cid and throwing him into the precipice near the sanctuary, but Cid pretended to be dead in order to cause the Legatus to leave him alone. As the vision ended, Abriael quickly returned to Ul’dah, where he learned that the master of the Garlond Ironworks was indeed alive and unharmed.
And that’s it for this episode. The first Primal has fallen. Now we know more about Cid’s past and we have met Louisoix and the fearsome Nael Van Darnus. The next episode will delve even deeper in the story of the Seventh Umbral Era, as the tension will grow towards the inevitable climax that will come in two episodes.
If you’re eager to see what I mean, and to see more of the lovely cutscenes that accompanied the story, all you have to do is to come back next Wednesday and read Episode 6 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.
If you missed them, you can also read the other episodes here: Episode 1: Beginnings, Episode 2: Awakening, Episode 3: Confrontation, Episode 4: A New Beginning, Episode 6: United, Episode 7: End of an Era, Extra Episode: Agent of Enquiry.
If you have any further question about the story, do ask in the comments.