Final Fantasy XIV – The Story So Far – Episode 7: End of an Era
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 tells the tale of the heroes of Eorzea, from the very beginning to the final, climatic battle against the 7th Imperial Legion. It also includes 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 follows 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.
In this episode we finally reach the climax of the story of Final Fantasy XIV: who will win the final battle for the salvation or the destruction of Eorzea?
You can read the other episodes here: Episode 1: Beginnings, Episode 2: Awakening, Episode 3: Confrontation, Episode 4: A New Beginning, Episode 5: Madness, Episode 6: United, Extra Episode: Agent of Enquiry.
Chapter 21: United We Stand
Upon reaching the secluded camp of the Eorzean Alliance in Mor Dhona Abriael consulted with Flame Commander Jakys Ryder and Serpent Commander Vevina Yarborough. With the alliance reforged, all three grand companies had joined their combined might and were preparing to strike on the imperial stronghold of Castrum Novum.
Abriael’s mission was simple: taking advantage of the battle outside the gates and leading a small contingent of adventurers to infiltrate the stronghold. Find the Lunar Transmitter and Destroy it. He gathered his force quickly, knowing that there was no time to waste. Luckily many other adventurers had come to the aid of the Alliance and Eorzea didn’t suffer from the lack of brave souls.
Shortly after the attack force moved onto the fort. The Garleans were swift to counter with countless soldiers, war hounds and even their terrible Juggernauts, but the forces of the Eorzean Alliance were stalwart, and kept the Imperial troops at bay while Abriael and his fellows sneaked inside the fort. Unfortunately stealth was an option only to a point, and soon they found themselves fighting to advance and to pass the multiple gates that led the lunar transmitter.
Bloodied but unbowed the adventurers reached the chamber where the Lunar Transmitter was housed. Upon breaching its doors with grim faces showing their determination, they found the device shielded by a net of generators and protected by a Juggernaut. Abriael bellowed a warcry and engaged the fearsome Magitek monster, while his companions attacked the generators and fended off wave after wave of Garlean soldiers rushing to the defense.
After a pitched battle the enemies were defeated and the Lunar Transmitter was deactivated for good. The ominous beam piercing the heavens was finally exstinguished. Little time was allowed for cheer, though. Timely as death itself Nael van Darnus appeared on the scene knocking the adventurers out with the power of his fearsome Gunhalberd. The legatus was obviously disturbed as he showered his prone enemies with demeaning words, condemning them for seeking to prevent the fall of Dalamud and the wave of destructive purification it would involve.
Suddenly van Darnus was engulfed by a wave of power, apparently coming to him directly from Dalamud. His eyes glowed of an eerie red light as he attacked the adventurers again. But he did not give the finishing blow. He was no more in need of any transmitter, as he was finally able to guide Dalamud upon Eorzea without any artificial aid. He withdrew among a field of blue flames, telling Abriael and his fellows that they would die.
The battle of Castrum Novum was won, but it appeared to be useless in the end. Abriael reported back to General Raubahn and Cid in Ul’dah. The Flame General pledged to spare no effort in finding the whereabouts of Van Darnus, and asked the adventurer to continue helping Cid and Louisoix in any way he could.
Chapter 22: To Kill a Raven
Shortly afterwards the Eorzean Alliance managed to track down Nael Van Darnus. Apparently he had fled to a location southeast of Camp Glory in Cohertas. Abriael was ordered to scout the enemy position and report on the presence of the Legatus.
Upon reaching Cohertas, though, not only he didn’t find Van Darnus at all, but he witnessed an disquieting scene: a beam of light was still being directed to Dalamud from a floating mass of rocks high above the land. Contingents from the three Grand Companies were assembling for battle, but suddenly a meteor swarm apparently originating from Dalamud itself fell from the sky, and obliterated them from existence. Still shaken, the adventurer hurried back to Gridania to report to the leaders of the Alliance.
Back at the Lotus Stand, Raubhan entrusted him with a critical mission. He was to lead a group of adventurers on a strike on the floating island that Van Darnus was using as his base to continue directing Dalamud’s fall. Cid revealed that the destruction of Bozja Citadel had uncovered the evil behind the Empire and the Meteor plan to his eyes, ultimately persuading him to forsake his homeland. He was willing to do everything he could to stop Van Darnus, including carrying Abriael and his companions to their destination aboard his personal Airship, the Enterprise.
After gathering his band of Braves Abriael met Cid at the port. The bond between the two men was growing strong in their common purpose, and the whole group boarded the Enterprise, flying into the sky to a mission that could have very well been suicidal.
After disembarking on the floating island the adventurers faced van Darnus. The legatus mocked them, considering them powerless sacrifices against the might Dalamud granted him, but he was wrong. The battle raged, with Abriael and his companions giving their all to strike on the possessed van Darnus while avoiding the deadly strikes of his gunhaleberd Bradamante. Suddenly even the skies seemed to conspire against the Eorzean heroes, as meteors fell from the heavens with explosive force. Luckily the Black Mages raised a barrage of lightning and ice, causing the skyborne projectiles to fragment harmlessly before hitting their targets.
Feeling his strength waver van Darnus was baffled by the fact that those he considered mere beasts could defeat him. He cursed the Emperor himself and Gaius van Baelsar for having abandoned the Garlean pride in order to scavenge Eorzea, that he saw as nothing more than the leaving of false gods. he finally invoked Dalamud itself, demanding the power to carry out its will. The cursed moon responded, instilling further energy into the legatus, that readied himself for battle once more, his power multiplied.
The struggle resumed and the situation worsened radically as Van Darnus called upon the ancient forbidden power named Megaflare, that Dalamud had granted him. Countless meteors started falling from the heavens, as the exhausted mages struggled with what energy they had left to repel them. It lasted what seemed an eternity, but in the end the rain of deadly rocks stopped. Abriael and his braves, bloodied but unbowed, gathered whatever power they could and lashed at their grim enemy, finally defeating him for good. Van Darnus staggered, and eventually vanished, as his energy floated skywards to be absorbed by Dalamud.
The floating island started to collapse, its energy disappeared, but Cid came on the Enterprise to save the adventurers, flying away from the crumbling tomb of their enemy. The battle was won, and all that remained was to celebrate a well deserved victory. Cid was confident that Dalamud’s threat was dispelled and without Van Darnus controlling it, the red moon would finally return to its seat in the sky. The celebration was joyous, as Abriael, Cid and their companions had saved the land. Their friends were there, the leaders of the grand companies, the Archons of the Circle of Knowing, and everyone that helped making that final victorious confrontation possible.
Chapter 23: Living on a Prayer
Following the battle that saw the demise of Nael van Darnus, Abriael was summoned by Louisoix. The leader of the Circle of Knowing seemed worried, but addressed the adventurer with warm words of gratitude. Yet, bad news were at hand. The Archons had persevered in their vigil over Dalamud, and only one conclusion could be drawn from what they had seen. Despite the defeat of the wicked legatus, Dalamud didn’t stray from its descending trajectory and was still headed inexorably towards Eorzea.
There was only one hope left for the people of the continent, and probably of the whole world: summoning the Twelve guardian deities of the land. Abriael was to travel to the ancient stones each bearing the symbol of one of the slumbering gods. At each stone he was to give fervent prayer: a prayer for Eorzea’s salvation.
Such pilgrimage was the key to trigger the ritual that would cause the Twelve to stir from their slumber, and possibly lend their aid against the disastrous fall of Dalamud.
Abriael immediately departed for the first stone belonging to Nophica the Matron, that was embedded on top of the Conjurers’ guild in Gridania itself. There, after offering his prayer, he met the Archons Papalymo and Yda. The Lalafell explained that, while summoning the Twelve would doubtlessly a very risky endeavor, as the gods require an enormous amount of aether from the land in order to maintain their presence on the mortal plane, the process would not only have a chance to stray Damalud’s curse, but it could even restore to the land itself some of the aether that red moon had absorbed from the Primals.
After visiting a few more of the shrines, Abriael reached the Arrzaneth Ossuary in Ul’Dah, that served as home to the Shrine of Thal, the Dusk Trader. There he was joined by Thancred. The bard informed the adventurer that while the cost required to summon the Twelve would indeed be dire as Papalymo said, failing to do so would mean total annihilation for the land itself and every creature upon it, with no hope of recovery. While sparing the present could be very well at the cost of the future, he believed that they had to see that task through, no matter the hardship. They parted with a smile, speaking words of confidence and hope.
Abriael continued his pilgrimage north, and traveled to the Fury’s Gaze in Cohertas, where he found shrine of Halone, the Fury. After praying he found out that he was not alone, and the man he met was definitely an unexpected guest. In front of him stood Gaius van Baelsar, legatus of the XIVth Legion of the Empire. Yet, again, the stern but honorable adversary didn’t attack the adventurer.
He actually advised Abriael that the soldiers of VIIth Legion believed that Nael van Darnus hadn’t really perished in the battle that saw his defeat, and they entrenched themselves in Mor Dhona where Dalamud was predicted to fall, in order to try and find their leader. A final clash between them and the forces of the Eorzean Alliance was imminent.
Abriael resumed his trip and visited more shrines. After crossing the strait on the ferry to Limsa Lominsa he climbed to the shrine of Llymalen, the Navigator. There he met Y’shtola that carefully listened to the story about the adventurer’s meeting with van Baelsar. She conceded that the Black Wolf had no reason to lie, and reasoned that the location of the VIIth Legion was the same where the ritual to summon the Twelve was to be completed. Probably van Darnus had anticipated the Archons’ moves and positioned his forces there in order to thwart their efforts. The Miqo’te then departed in order to relay such findings to the leadership of the Alliance. It looked like the members of the Circle of Knowing were getting ready to play their final roles.
After a brief visit to the shrine of Nymeia the Spinner Abriael finally infiltrated Mor Dhona, reaching the Crypt of Xandes that housed the stone of Thaliak the Scholar. After giving the final prayer he was joined by Louisoix and Urianger. As the stone of the god resonated with the elder elzen’s staff , Urianger mentioned that the light of hope had been awakened.
After the two thanked Abriael for the part he played, Lousioix told that one final battle remained to be fought: the Alliance needed to secure the grounds for the summoning ritual against the forces of the VIIth Legion. Urianger explained that the prophecy of Mezaya Thousand Eyes that he had spread across the city states was, in fact, a promise of salvation, and that the valiant blades mentioned in the verses were those of Abriael himself and of his fellow adventurers.
Lousoix declared that thanks to Abriael he harbored no fear for the fate of Eorzea, but the adventurer needed to join the forces of the Alliance on the battlefield in order to repel van Darnus’ minions. The final battle was finally coming, for better or for worse.
Chapter 24: End of an Era
During the following days the situation started to worsen gradually but inexorably. As the bloated red moon became even bigger in the sky, it started to interfere with the atmosphere, causing massive lightning storms that terrorized the population. The fact that many were barricading themselves in their homes was maybe a good thing, as packs of monsters started to threaten and invade even the cities, made mad by the proximity of Dalamud.
If those disasters weren’t enough, scouting parties of the VIIth Legion started to trespass into the territories of the City States, supported by the deadly Juggernauts, wreaking havoc around the camps and in the cities themselves. Abriael and the other adventurers tried to be everywhere at the same time, day and night, repelling attack after attack, fighting exhaustion and despair with determination and courage and bringing hope to the beleaguered people of Eorzea.
At last the moment came. The day of the ritual approached and the leaders of the Eorzean Alliance issued a call to all the able adventurers that had joined the Grand Companies. The Grand fleet of Limsa Lominsa sailed en route to vesper bay following the flagship Triumph, commanded by Admiral Merlwyb herself. Elder Seedster Kan-E-Senna led her Order of the Twin Adder out of the Black Shroud Forest, while General Raubahn was seen at the head of the Flames’ army and the Free Brigade as they marched from the gates of Ul’dah.
The armies of the Alliance joined in Thanalan and marched northwards to Mor Dhona, setting camp near the Carteneau Flats, where the final battle was to be fought. Abriael was with them, ready to fight as ever. Dark clouds weighed upon his heart, but they were kept at bay by Louisoix’s words of hope. He and the other adventurers could not afford to fail.
The day of the final confrontation against the VIIth imperial legion came without sun. All light was swallowed by dark clouds and by the enormous shape of Dalamud dominating the sky, as meteors of all sizes battered the land. The two armies faced each other briefly while the moon descended, gradually cracking open and revealing regular rifts that looked like the seams between the panels of a gigantic machine. Abriael looked at the sky and steeled himself, drawing his sword in a shining arc that flashed in the darkness. He did not have the time to think about Dalamud. Others would have to solve that problem.
Then the signal to charge was given on both sides and men of the north met those of the south in the middle of the field. The clash was thunderous and terrifying, while steel, magic and magitek wrestled for every inch of land and every drop of blood under the concerned eyes of the leaders of the Alliance and the penetrating gaze of Gaius van Baelsar, that observed the battle from high above, perched on his Airship while he kept his own forces out of the struggle.
Abriael was at the forefront, right in the middle of the carnage, blessed shield deflecting bolts of flame from the Magitek monstrosities that charged into the Eorzean ranks, while his sword harvested the lives of the Imperial soldiers throwing themselves at him and at his companions. Then it came.
A gigantic object shaped like a key detached from Dalamud and came crashing upon the battlefield. Those that weren’t outright crushed by it’s enormous weight or dismembered by the shockwave lost their balance and collapsed on the shaking ground. Suddenly, in front of the eyes of the terrified combatants the moon exploded in hundreds of pieces. Massive wings engulfed in fire erupted from the wreckage. An titanic wyrm appeared from inside what was left of Dalamud, rearing and breathing meteors of flame that came crashing all over Eorzea. Bahamut, the King of Dragons had appeared, freed of his cage build by the ancient Allagan empire.
Terror spread upon the battlefield as Bahamut’s fire sowed death and destruction all over the land, carried by mighty wings. Only the adventurers stood their ground, watching the mighty beast, but powerless against its fury. As globes of searing flame threatened to engulf them, they were protected by a barrier of shining light. Louisoix had thrown his weight into the battle, shielding his pupils with his own powers.
Yet the barrier shattered, but some time was gained as Bahamut hovered to observe who dared to challenge him. Suddenly pillars of light erupted from the land. The other archons were in the three city states and their fervent prayers had triggered the summoning ritual. Lousioix raised his staff and issued the final command as the power of the Twelve was unleashed in all its holy light, encasing the ancient dragon in a new cage.
Yet, it didn’t suffice. So strong was the power of Bahamuth that even the stirring gods could not contain it. The cage of light shattered revealing the furious dragon sovereign as he reared to unleash his final Megaflare. Using what was left of his power Louisoux activated the last defense. Abriael and the other adventurers were engulfed by blinding holy light and started to vanish into thin air, to be transported to safety who knew where or when.
Had it all been for naught? A last glimpse to the peaceful, benevolent smile Louisoix worn on his wrinkled face as Megaflare engulfed him told Abriael that the answer was “no”, before the adventurer’s consciousness faded into darkness.
And that’s it. The main storyline of Final Fantasy XIV has reached its tragic and epic conclusion, but we all know that not everything is lost. Louisoix heroically sacrificed himself to save our adventurers, and Eorzea, albeit gravely damaged, survived. The saga will continue in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and we’ll all meet again in a new Eorzea.
Despite the conclusion of the story, this episode won’t be the last, as we will have a final special one on January the 2nd to greet the new year. What will it be about? You’ll see. I won’t spoil the surprise now. Also, please accept my most heartfelt “Happy Starlight Celebration” wishes. While we didn’t have one this year in Final Fantasy XIV, I created a little video to celebrate it in my own simple way. You can find it here.
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 5: Madness, Episode 6: United, Extra Episode: Agent of Enquiry.
If you have any further question about the story, do ask in the comments.