The following is a crash course for the plot of Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward. IT CONTAINS SPOILERS, it does not have any sort of personal insight, and is mainly meant as a tool for those who have skipped, forgotten, or want a refresher on the major plot points of the Heavensward narrative.
Following the death of the Sultana of Ul’dah and the collapse of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, the remaining members – Tataru, Alphinaud, and the Warrior of Light – are left without a home and without allies. Their only chance of survival at this time is to head northward and enter Ishgard under the protection of House Fortemps, one of Ishgard’s noble houses, with the help of long time friend of the Warrior of Light, Haurchefant, who is the illegitimate son of the Fortemps patriarch, Lord Edmont de Fortemps.
To repay House Fortemps aid in offering shelter during these turbulent times, the Warrior of Light offers their assistance to Edmont’s two other sons: Artoirel and Emmanellian. Emmanellian is a lazy good for nothing who plans to schmooze with other noble houses and utilize the Warrior of Light to earn some glory and step out of his older brother’s shadow by ‘assisting’ the Rose Knights in the Sea of Clouds. Emmanellian means to have the Warrior of Light do the work and for him to take the credit, but the Rose Knights and the others serving at Camp Cloudtop are quick to see through this and ask that the Warrior of Light just try to keep the youngest Fortemps out of trouble. Unfortunately, Emmanellian is kidnapped by the Vanu Vanu, a tribe of bird beast people, and relies on the Warrior to rescue him and narrowly escape the Vanu Vanu’s patron primal: Bismarck the sky whale.
Artoirel, on the other hand, is steadfast in his duties and loyalties to Ishgard. As such, he is leery of outsiders and refugees entering the city and his treatment of even someone as renown as the Warrior of Light shows it. Artoirel is tasked with the rebuilding of Falcon’s Nest, a fortress on the outskirts of the Coerthas Western Highlands that has been reduced to ruin after the Calamity turned the once vibrant Highlands into a frozen waste. While working towards the rebuilding effort, the Warrior of Light and Artoirel run across a group of Heretics – primal worshippers hunted by the Holy See of Ishgard – including Lady Iceheart, the once vessel for the primal Shiva. Lady Iceheart communes with the Warrior of Light and Midgardsormer, the dragon who has secretly accompanied the Warrior of Light since they battle with the great dragon. Iceheart reveals her mission here is not to bring about ruin to Ishgard but to break an ancient cycle of hatred and bring about peace between Ishgard and the Dravarians. She escapes but the rest of her heretics are killed before the Warrior of Light returns to Ishgard.
Upon returning to the city the Warrior of Light finds that Alphinaud and Tataru have been arrested after being accused of herecy by one of the twelve members of the Heaven’s Ward, the personal knights of Archbishop Theradan VII. The Warrior takes their concerns to Ser Aymeric, Knight Commander of the guard, but even he is powerless to the will of the Heaven’s Ward. The Warrior of Light’s only choice is to challenge the accusation with a trial by combat and acting as a surrogate for their allies. Once freed, Alphinaud and Tataru reveal to the Warrior of Light that they have a possible lead on how to save Raubahn, the Flame General who was incarcerated after the conflict in Ul’dah. The General is set to be executed in the depths of Halatali and there the Warrior can rescue him before the deed is carried out. From there the Warrior of Light and Raubahn flee to the former Scion base of the Waking Sands to find Urianger, Papashan, and Dewlala Dewla – a member of Ul’dah’s Syndicate – who reveals to the Warrior and Raubahn that the Sultana is not dead, but in a deep sleep brought about by Lord Lolorito who paid off Sultana Nanamo’s lady-in-waiting to switch out the poison withing a sleeping draught to subvert Teledji Adaledji’s assassination plot. The celebration of the news is short lived as Tataru sends word from Ishgard – the Dravarian Horde is on the move and they are coming for Ishgard.
The Warrior of Light and Alphinaud leave Papashan and Raubahn to find out more about Nanamo to return to the North. Alphinaud is convinced that Lady Iceheart may the key to ending the war between Ishgard and the Dragons before both are annihilated. They decide to seek out Iceheart in the Western Highlands were the Warrior last saw her and they will be joined by the famed Azure Dragoon of Ishgard and holder of the Great Wyrm Nidhogg’s eye: Estinien. Estinien insists on joining the mission to parlay with the Horde which Alphinaud consents to so long as the Dragoon stays his lance. Tataru will stay behind and see if she can discover any news about the missing Scions. The group takes up the hunt for Iceheart and eventually locates her. She explains that negotiating with Nidhogg, one of the seven great wyrms and the one currently leading the Horde’s charge, is impossible since Nidhogg has a savage hatred of the lesser races. However, another of the great wyrms – Hraesvelgr – maybe more open to the idea. Iceheart decides to join the cause and deep within the Warrior of Light, the Crystal of Ice reignites overcoming the separation to Hydaelyn’s Light that Midgardsormr created to test the Warrior.
To reach Hraesvelgr’s lair, the group will need to travel through the Dravarian Forelands and ascend through the ruins of Sohm Al to reach the Churning Mists. Along the journey, Lady Iceheart welcomes the Warrior of Light to call her by her true name: Ysayle. Ysayle and Estinien spend much of the journey bickering about the true intentions of the dragons and whether they could even be trusted, with Alphinaud only assuring them both that all shall be made clear by use of the Warrior of Light’s ability to utilize the Echo to see the truth in things. However, a bigger problem faces them along the way. The bug like beast tribe of the Gnath have summoned a powerful primal named Ravana to help them wage war on the Ishgardians and Dragons alike as revenge for an Ishgardian knight felling a dragon and causing the beast to crash into the Gnath’s hive. To avoid adding a third faction to the conflict, the Warrior of Light must stop Ravana and quell the Gnath’s rage.
After claiming victory over the Gnath and earning the trust of the forelands dragons, the Warrior of Light and their party ventured up through Sohm Al and into the Mists where they encountered the Moogles of Moghome. These moogles were the original group who served the Twelve before Good King Moogle Mog broke away and lead a faction of moogles to the surface in the Twelveswood. The Moogles of Moghome now serve the Dragons and the Warrior of Light must prove themselves to the moogles to earn the right to meet with Hraesvelgr. However, the meeting does not go as planned. The tired old wyrm arrives to shatter any hope of peace as he explains that Ysayle is not Shiva reincarnated but only resurrected a shadow of Shiva from her hearts desire no different than the men of Allagan did ages ago to Bahamut under the guidance of the Dark Ones. The great wyrm also explains the start of the Dragonsong War. That after the true Saint Shiva died 1200 years ago to bring about peace between dragons and men with her love, the peace was shattered not but 200 years later by King Thordan I and his knights who slew Hraesvelgr and Nidhogg’s sister, tore out her eyes and devoured them like savage animals to gain the dragon’s power. This taste of dragon blood still runs in Ishgardian veins till today, which is why a Heretic could turn into a half dragon monster at the slightest taste of pure dragon blood. A technique that Nidhogg now utilizes to build his army to spill every drop of stolen blood and power in Ishgard. With Ysayle’s faith broken and hopes of peace dashed, Estinien decides then that it is his duty as a dragoon to put an end to Nidhogg once and for all.
However, to penetrate the Aery where Nidhogg dwells, the Warrior and Estinien will need a new method of breaching the aetheric storms that surround the Wyrm’s lair. Luckily, the technical genius trio of Cid, Biggs, and Wedge have been working hard on creating something that might do the trick back in the Skysteel Manufactuary in Ishgard: the Manacutter. It still needs sometime to perfect however, but luckily the Warrior of Light has a distraction in the form of news from Ul’dah. It seems the time has come to awaken the Sultana. With Nanamo revived, Lord Lolorito is quick to share more dire news. The Garlean Empire, now emboldened by their new Emperor, has nearly completed a new massive airship to assault Eorzea with in the same scale as the one used in the Calamity that now rests in the lake of Mor Dhona. Alphinaud laments that this is the sort of things he had wished that the Crystal Braves would be able to defeat but that his dream of a grand unified army to defend Eorzea was for naught. Instead he resigns himself to be a member of the Scions – nothing more or less. With Ul’dah beginning preparations to face the Empire, the Warrior of Light returns to Cid to gain a new set of wings.
The Warrior of Light and Estinien wage a fierce battle with Nidhogg forcing Estinien to draw upon Nidhogg’s stolen eye for power which nearly allows the Great Wyrm to seize Estinien’s mind only for the Dragoon to barely resist. The beast is finally slain with his blood spilling forth and staining Estinien’s drachen mail armor to a permanent crimson. His lifelong revenge fulfilled, Estinien feels nothing but emptiness realizing that a similar revenge was all that fueled his foe as well. Meanwhile, the Echo blesses the Warrior of Light with the truth of Nidhogg’s lost eyes in a vision of ages past. It seems that after Nidhogg slayed King Thordan as revenge for killing the wyrm’s sister, Thordan’s son – Prince Haldrath – took up a quest for revenge against Nidhogg as well that ultimately ended with them killing the very same dragon the Warrior of Light just fought. With Nidhogg slain, his four knights asked Haldrath to please take his father’s throne but Haldrath declined saying that as another who partook in the eating of the dragon eyes years prior, his lineage was cursed. So long as the dragons darken the sky, he will be a dragon hunter until death gives him retirement and he will fight for the people he and his father doomed when they broke the peace. The four knights decide then that Ishgard will have no king and that their four houses will handle the affairs of the city from then on. But the question remains, if Haldrath had taken both of Nidhogg’s eyes, and one was passed down to Estinien as the Azure Dragoon, then what was the remaining eye that he had? The truth is that Nidhogg’s brother, Hraesvelgr, offered one of his to the dying Nidhogg in penance for being blind to threat of man in the face of his mortal love Shiva. Thus the Dragonsong War continued.
The Warrior of Light and company return to Ishgard to have the city under siege by Heretics, both Ysayle and Haurchefant try to calm each side of the conflict insisting that peace is won due to Nidhogg’s defeat. Meanwhile, The Warrior of Life and Alphinaud meet with House Fortemps to discuss the matter of the the true history revealed by the Echo. Not only are the Church’s scriptures about the beginning of the war being caused by the dragons a lie, but they also insist that the four noble houses that rule Ishgard are legitimized by their direct lineage to King Thordan – another lie. In fact, anyone in Ishgard be they low born or high born could be related to the last king of Ishgard and a drop of dragon’s blood is all that it takes to prove it. While Nidhogg’s defeat may have stopped the War, it seems that the consequences of it may through the whole of Ishgard into chaos and societal upheaval. Ser Aymeric takes the burden of taking this matter to the Archbishop himself and facing the consequences for speaking blasphemy and treason. However, it doesn’t go well as Aymeric is imprisoned within the Vault with the Knights given free reign to do what is necessary to extract who else may know about the truth.
With Aymeric imprisoned, his right hand Lucia decides to rescue him. Haurchefant pledges his aid as does the Warrior of Light. However even with a full squadron of knights to back them, breaking into the Vault seems like an impossibility. However, if they were to gain aid from the Brume Revolutionaries that live in the lower levels of the city they may stand a chance. The Warrior of Light, Tataru and Alphinaud descend into the depths of The Brume and learn of ‘The Mongrel’, the revolutionary leader who earned the name because of a mixed heritage of a noble father and low born handmaiden who was cast out when it was revealed she was pregnant with the nobleman’s child. After some digging, the group finds Hilda, the mysterious Mongrel, and after defending her from the Temple Knights of Ishgard she agrees to aid the Warrior of Light in their mission to save Ser Aymeric. The assault successfully save Ser Aymeric but fails to stop the Archbishop who sends two members of the Heaven’s Ward after the Warrior revealing that they can manifest ‘Primal Forms’ like Ysayle did with Shiva. In the end, the heroes are dealt a fatal blow as Lord Haurchefant dies protecting Ser Aymeric and the Warrior of Light from a blast from the Archbishop. The only thing they have to show for the loss is a name: Azys La.
While the name is unknown to the Warrior of Light’s allies, Cid wagers that if Thorden VII has had dealings with the Ascians, it’s likely something related to what they tempted Gaius Van Baelsar with: The secrets of the Allagan Empire. Cid preps The Enterprise to chase after the Archbishop’s airship in the Sea of Clouds but the party makes a startling discovery upon arriving. The Garlean Empire is attacking the Vanu Vanu in efforts to discover where Archbishop Thordan VII went. After rescuing them, the Vanu Vanu reveal that Azys La is “The Birthplace of Sin” and “The Homeland of Forbidden Secrets” but confess they have the Key to Azys La and it is kept on a floating island shrine. However, the shrine is promptly destroyed by Bismarck the White and the key with it. Bismarck has been driven into a frenzy by the Empire attacking it. The only way to get that key is to assault the giant whale primal and defeat him. However upon claiming victory over the Primal, it appears that the Archbishop was merely waiting in hiding for someone to do his dirty work and snatches the key from the Warrior of Light’s hands while they were momentarily distracted by a message from the slowly growing stronger reconnection with Hydaelyn.
Cid gives chase on the Enterprise, but can’t penetrate the Aetherical barrier that surrounds the floating continent of Azys La. It is during this endeaver that Lucia reveals that not only was she not born in Ishgard as had been established, that she was in fact a Garlean and the sister to Livia Sas Junius, one of Gaius Van Baelsar’s trusted inner circle. With no luck in breaching Azys La’s barrier without a key, the party returns to Ishgard. It’s not all bad news however as Tataru mentions she has news that there may be a lead on the Scions. The Immortal Flames have been scouring the waterways for signs of Minfillia, Thancred and Yshtola and managed to retrieve Yshtola’s wand. With the help of the Padjal of Gridania the Warrior of Light discovers that before the collapse of the waterway, Yshtola teleported away but without a precise destination. The result was Yshtola becoming trapped in the natural flow of aether – The Lifestream. There are ways to bring her back but it will be dangerous and require someone of a close connection and the Warrior of Light is sent to find Yshtola’s sister to aid in the ritual. The whole ordeal proves to be a success but with a cost. Yshtola has been permanently blinded by the whole thing and that she does not believe her studies into aetheric research could construct a weapon to pierce Azys La. She does know someone who might though – her old mentor Matoya.
The Warrior of Light, Alphinaud and Yshtola travel to the Dravarian Hinterlands where the ruined city of Sharlayan lies. Here they find the barren city now occupied by goblins, more specifically the Illuminati – a cabal of goblins trying to raise their own primal Alexander – and a less hostile faction that asks for The Warrior of Light’s aid in establishing a new city in the region by the name of Idyllshire. From there the group heads south to Matoya’s Cave in the mountains. Matoya knows of a device that might accomplish exactly what the party needs called an Aetheric Converger. She designed it way back in the day and it caused a falling out with her and her colleagues. However the research was locked up in a dusty old tome and placed in the Great Gubal Library. Upon retrieving the book, Matoya deciphers it and Cid studies the findings to help design an Aetheric Ram to mount on the airship. The only problem is a power source for it. It dawns on Alphinaud that Nidhogg’s Eye is a near limitless source of Aether and could easily do the trick if they could get Estinien to part with it. Set Aymeric goes to discuss the matter with the dragoon while Cid preps the Enterprise. The Warrior of Light assembles their team: Yshtola, Estinien, Biggs, Wedge, Cid, and Yasyle. Yshtola and Estinien begin to argue over whether the Eye will begin to consume Estinien which he denies the possibility of saying that he’d destroy it first. Cid finishing installing the ram and dubs the remodeled airship the Enterprise Excelsior before launching.
As the Enterprise Excelsior prepares to break through the barrier surrounding Azys La, the ship is attacked by the massive Imperial Battleship that Lord Lolorito had spoken of before. With the ship heavily damaged, the Eye’s rage quickly building and channeling through Estinien, and hope quickly diminishing, Ysayle choses to sacrifice her life to take the form of Shiva once more and engage in combat with the ship. The battleship is damaged and Ysayle killed, but the Warrior of Light and their team have broken the barrier and made it to Azys La. The group explores the floating island a bit and discover that at its heart stands the Warring Triad, three powerful primals that have been rendered to stone by being drained of everything they have to power the island’s facilities. They continue around the island until they are confronted with the Garlean Imperial Army VIth Squadron and their commander Regula van Hydrus. Hydrus applauds the Warrior of Light’s fabled strength and tenacity but walks away to have his underlings deal with the heroes much to Estinien’s rage. He hands the Warrior of Light the Eye and says that he’ll handle the Imperials so they can go finish this. Unfortunately, the final connection to reach the central flagship of the island has been broken for centuries. Midgardsormer urges the Warrior to seek out one of his children – Tiamat – on a nearby island and think on the dragons 5000 years of sufferring before deciding their quest was for naught. There Tiamat explains the history of the dragons, how they lived in peace across the world for a millennium before the men of Allag came into power. They slaughtered countless dragons and destroyed Bahamut. The Ascians came to Tiamat and offered the secret to raise her beloved Bahamut from beyond, but when she did she knew that it wasn’t Bahamut. It just looked like him. Then the Ascians turned around and handed Bahamut to the Allag where they enslaved him and Tiamat to fuel their machines. Tiamat warns that the beings that the world calls Gods are actually just summoned from our minds and hearts desires and not truly Gods, but their summoning does extract a terrible toll on Hydaelyn. In this moment of clarity, the final elemental crystal ignites and the Warrior of Light’s connection to Hydaelyn’s light is restored in full. The Goddess warns of the coming of the Servants of Darkness soon and that they must use their gift to the fullest to protect the world. Midgardsormr is impressed and congratulates the Warrior of Light on proving their worth of Hydaelyn’s gift. The dragon transforms into a larger form capability of flight and carries the Warrior off toward the flagship and to the final showdown.
The Warrior of Light descends into Azys La’s Aetherochemical Research Facility to face off with a pair of Ascians – Lahabrea, who the Warrior had encountered before, and Igeyohrm – who speak of wanting to resurrect their Lord Zodiark. They reveal the true power of the Echo, that it doesn’t just give one the ability to glimpse another’s life but to break down the barriers of existence itself and using it the two Ascians fuse into a singular entity calling itself Ascian Prime. However, the Warrior of Light has regained the blessings of Light and has grown in power utilizing Nidhogg’s Eye to cleave the Ascian Prime back into two. Shocked by this development the Ascians curse Hydaelyn’s name before the arrival of Archbishop Thordan VII, who reveals his plan to rule the world and bring peace as a primal God-King utilizing the untapped power of Nidhog’s other eye which lied buried with and bonded to Haldrath, son of King Thordan and the first Azure Dragoon, whose coffin the Archbishop brought along. With the other Eye and countless years of prayers and belief harnessed by the church, the Archbishop will turn himself and his entire Heaven’s Ward into primals. He becomes God-King Thordan and his Knights of the Round. His first act is to kill Lahabrea and absorb the Ascian’s aether into himself. Then Thordan faces off against the Warrior of Light themselves until finally the primals are defeated and the Archbishop lies dead. Estinien arrives just as the fighting dies down and takes the pair of Nidhogg’s Eyes in hand, speaking of how all that remains is to take them far away from the hands of both man and dragon. However, this relaxed moment is all it takes for Nidhogg to seize Estinien’s mind and command him to use the Eyes to drink deep of Nidhogg’s rage. Doing so, Estinien’s body transforms and the Azure Dragoon himself becomes a new vessel for Nidhogg as the dragon flies off to renew his wrath on the world.
With the Archbishop dead, the Warrior of Light returns to Ishgard with Midgardsormr who asks a simple question of Ser Aymeric, “Child of Thordan, do you desire peace?” To which the people of Ishgard happily say yes. For now there will be peace, and Ishgard made a full member of the Eorzean Alliance. The Warrior of Light holds a small funeral in the Coerthas Central Highlands, just beyond Dragonhead, for Haurchefant. And high above on the surface of the moon, Elidibus of the Ascians ponders on the failures of Lahabrea to bring about the Eighth Rejoining and how the Warrior of Light’s power is beginning to border on godhood. He turns to a figure in the darkness and says that it perhaps it is time for the Warrior of Darkness to make his debut.
As Goes Light, So Goes Darkness (3.1)
Ser Aymeric is interested in pursuing a lasting peace with the Dravanians, and thus he contacts the Warrior of Light to join Lucia and seek out an audience with the only member of Midgardsormr’s brood that has had any positive relationship with humanity – Hraesvelgr. The mission takes the Warrior of Light to meet with Vidofnr, Hraesvelgr’s daughter, who agrees to beseech her father for an audience if the Warrior of Light helps the Dravanians deal with the aggressive movements of the Gnath so the dragons don’t face a new conflict in the wake of settling another.
Meanwhile, Yshtola is awaiting the arrival of Krile, one of Minfilia’s closest friends and one the last survivors of the Students of Baldesion. Krile has come to aid in locating the other missing members of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn. The Lalafell asks Yshtola to beseech her former master, Matoya, to lend Krile the Crystal Eye which she uses to locate Thancred in the slopes of Sohm Al. By working with the hunters of Tailfeather and the friendly Gnath in the Forelands, you learn of Thancred’s whereabouts. He’s been living in the wilds and only interacting to trade what he has been hunting. However, the investigation is derailed when word reaches the Warrior of Light that the Gnath’s Primal God – Ravana – has been resurrected. The Warrior, Alphinaud, Krile and Yshtola run into the hives to find a group of adventurers wearing black armor brutally destroying the Primal already. They call themselves the Warriors of Darkness, those who chose a different path, and using the Echo both Krile and the Warrior of Light can see that they were once heroes who fought and defeated the Ascians. The Warriors of Darkness attack and nearly defeat the Warrior of Light and their friends if not for the interference of Thancred who leaps in from above. The Warriors of Darkness teleport away, leaving with no uncertain terms that they will meet the Warrior of Light once again.
However, with the Gnath’s primal defeated their aggressions against the Dravanians have subsided for the time. Vidofnir reports that in remembrance of Ysayle who sacrificed her life in the pursuit of peace, Hraesvelgr has permitted his kin to choose for themselves what path the Dravanians will follow. As such, Vidofnir has agreed to advocate for peace and will serve as an envoy to Ser Aymeric’s peace talks. However, a group calling themselves the True Brotherhood of the Faith have their own agenda with the Lord Commander. While Ser Aymeric discusses the future with the head of House Fortemps on a walk about the city, a bumbling beggar steps forth and bumps into Aymeric – and drives a dagger into his gut. The assassination attempt triggers a city wide riot with buildings across Ishgard being set on fire. Both the Temple Knights and the Watch from the Brume rise up to the call and try to save as many as possible, refugees from the zealots’ attack are ushered into the Vault for their protection. By the time the Warrior of Light returns, the damage is done. But there’s still the matter of who did it. Working with Thancred, the Warrior of Light tracks down the lowly servant who was hired to light the flames and with some word wizardry Thancred unearths the culprit’s guilt. However, the True Brotherhood of the Faith are not waiting to be ousted and begin an assault on the Vault itself using the refugees as hostages. The Warrior of Light, Ser Aymeric and others assault the Vault to save the people and stop the fanatics who demand Aymeric be executed for the crime of treason and patricide for his part in the Archbishop’s fall. The whole affair ends with the Brotherhood defeated but the last member throws a small girl off the roof of the cathedral. The girl plummets only to be saved at the last minute by Vidofnir who has flown into Ishgard to deliver a message. The people cheer at the dragon saving a small Ishgardian child but the message dampens the celebration with a warning from Hraesvelgr: Niddhogg is on the move.
In reaction to the violent uprising brought about by the perceived crimes of conspiracy to assassinate the Archbishop by some of the less open minded citizens, Count Edmont de Fortemps decides to step down as leader of his House and turn the duty over to his elder son, Artoirel. Elsewhere in Eorzea, the Ascian Elidibus and the Warrior of Darkness meet with the Scion’s researcher Urianger. Urianger has been pouring over an apocryphal tome that he dismisses as nonsense, but Elidibus assures him that it is the truth and that the Scion knows what must be done. Someone watches on from the shadows but scurries away just before the Warrior of Darkness takes notice of them. Lastly, in another unknown location, Papalymo and Yda are working with soldiers to rally forces against the Garlean Empire. Papalymo remarks that they do have other responsibilities to deal with and can’t stay here forever. Yda notes that she is aware of that, and she fully plans on dealing with ALL of her responsibilities.
The Gears of Change (3.2)
The search for Minfilia begins with the Warrior of Light greeting the return of her mother-figure F’lhaminn and the few loyal former members of the Crystal Braves that fled abroad during the fall of the Scions while Thancred and Krile investigate the aetherial flow at the point where Hydaelyn directly intervened during the battle with Ultima Weapon. Their investigation there as well as the waterway where Minfilia was last seen indicates that Hydaelyn herself had a hand in Minfilia’s disappearance and appears to have ushered the former Antecedent into the path of Yshtola’s spell since they were able to deduces that the Flow transported three people – not two. This leads to the theory that Minfilia might be trapped in the Aether. A theory that can be tested by the Warrior of Light ascending the Anti-Tower, a structure built by the Sharlayans to peer into the Aether directly.
At the pinnacle of the Anti-Tower, the Warrior of Light makes contact with the Mother Crystal Hydaelyn who has grown too weak to even speak to Her champion. Instead, it appears that she has taken control of Minfilia who now refers to herself as the title ‘The Voice of the Mother’. The Voice explains that at the dawn of time, Light and Darkness were equal as one, but then darkness grew hungry for more power and the light cast it out. The Light was Hydaelyn and She formed the world, and the Darkness was Zodiark and he was trapped within the moon. However, by casting out Zodiark, Hydaelyn shattered reality into 14 incarnations of itself. The Source and 13 mirrored universes. Zodiark’s servants – The Ascians – seek to collapse each of these mirror universes back into the source in order to re-power their God back to full strength. They do this by causing the Umbral Calamities that have rocked the Source seven times thus far. The Voice asks the Warrior of Light to take up the sword against the Ascians and to stop them now that Hydaelyn has grown too weak. With Hydaelyn’s final command issued, Minfillia’s form shatters and the Warrior of Light is sent back to tell the shocked and horrified remaining members of the Scions what has become of their leader.
Meanwhile at Falcon’s Nest, preparations for the peace talks between Man and Dragon are off to a rocky start. A group of dissidents that live on the frontier that have lost loved ones to the Dravanians have infiltrated the festivities under the guise of guards and servants, only to drug those in command and start a protest against the peace talk claiming that this entire thing is just a Dravanian ruse to slaughter everyone all at once. That the highborn of Ishgard are sentencing everyone to death out of pride and foolishness and anyone who goes against them will simply be silenced. To make matters worse, Emmanellain – the younger and lazier son of House Fortemps – tells the guards to stop the woman protester and the guard responds by shooting an arrow directly into her chest. The backlash against the peace talks is immediate. Ser Aymeric realizes that the decision to simple wipe away the past for a people who have been raised for generations to fight an impossible foe could easily be seen as a betrayal of Ishgard’s martial heritage by many. He chooses to instead give a demonstration that Ishgard’s highborn and leadership have not forgotten Ishgard’s proud military history by arranging a Grand Melee with the rest of the Eorzean Alliance. Emmanellain volunteers to compete in order to regain his lost honor from botching the ceremony before and the Warrior of Light is asked to represent Ishgard as well. The entire thing is an extravagant display of Ishgard’s finest soldiers against the very best of the three Grand Companies and ends with a stellar one-on-one battle between Raubahn of the Immortal Flames and the Warrior of Light.
With the people rallied and the dragons persuaded, Ser Aymeric and Vidofnir begin the ceremony for the peace talks with a stirring speeches about not perpetuating a cycle of violence and striving for a better future for everyone before unveiling a massive metal mural of Shiva and Hraelsvelgr meeting. However, the ceremony is again interrupted, only this time by what’s left of the Azure Dragoon – Estinien – as he emerges from above with the Eyes of Nidhogg fused to his blood red armor and in Nidhogg’s own voice he decries any talk of peace as a farce. That a rage such as his will never be set aside until every last son and daughter of Ishgard is dead. And any – be they man or dragon – that stands in his way will die. With that he drops from his perch and impales Vidofnir with his lance, splattering the mural with blood, before transforming into Nidhogg properly and departing. The people below cry out ‘Death to Nidhogg!’ over and over as the Warrior of Darkness looks on from a distance, trailed by Thancred.
Elsewhere, Papalymo lectures Yda on the dangers of trusting anyone too much right now while an unknown figure sneaks into a tent and picks up a silver face mask.
Revenge of the Horde (3.3)
With Nidhogg’s horde rallying for an assault and the people of Ishgard crying out for the wyrm’s head, the Warrior of Light, Alphinaud and Ser Aymeric make their way to the Churning Mists to speak to Hraesvelgr. Hraesvelgr states that their intent is obvious as should be his answer, but through cunning arguments by Alphinaud, Aymeric and even Midgardsormr they convince Hraesvelgr to test their resolve in a trial. No sooner than they complete the trial and earn the aid of Hraesvelgr the final chorus echoes across all of Ishgard and Dravania. Nidhogg’s attack has come. The heroes rush to the Steps of Faith to showdown with Nidhogg one last time. The Warrior of Light succeeds in stopping Nidhogg and stunning Estinien with the use of one of Hraesvelgr’s eyes. Alphinaud and the Warrior of Light rush to the Azure Dragoon and try to pry the Eyes of Nidhogg from the armor, but struggle to do so until the spirits of their fallen friends come to join them. The eyes are torn off and thrown into the abyss that leads to the Sea of Clouds below the Steps of Faith.
Later, Estinien finally awakens to Alphinaud’s sobbing. He laments about how similar he and Nidhogg were. Both of them lost their families, and were driven to revenge because of it but unlike Nidhogg, Estinien had people in his life that cared about him and were there for him. Still, with Nidhogg defeated, Estinien’s hunt is at its end and thus he lays down the mantle of the Azure Dragoon. Ser Aymeric stepped down as the interim-leader of Ishgard and dissolved the rulership of the Archbishop as his final act. In its place Ishgard would now have an elected republic in the form House of Commons and a House of Lords to decide matters of government. Now both the lowborn and the highborn would have a say in how the city was run. The Dragonsong War had finally ended.
However, the Knight of Darkness stands on the edge of the Sea of Clouds below the Steps of Faith and contacts the Warrior of Darkness who is meeting with the Ascian Elidibus. Their scheming is interrupted by someone in the shadows making a noise. The Warrior of Darkness springs into an attack to find Alphinaud’s sister, Allisae. She would almost have been struck down if not for Thancred who had trailed the Warrior of Darkness after the failed Peace Ceremony. He speeds off with Allisae in tow in hopes of evading their enemies.
Soul Surrender (3.4)
The Warrior of Light is invited to join the newly elected head of the House of Lords – Ser Aymeric – to dinner at his estate in Ishgard. However, as the pair reminisce on the events that brought them this far, they are interrupted by the arrival of Thancred carrying a poisoned Allisae. It would appear that she was struck by a poisoned arrow by the Ranger of Darkness while investigating, but she does come bearing news of the latest actions by the Warriors of Darkness. They make for Xelphatol to kill Garuda. The Warrior of Light heads to the Ixal village to stop the summoning before the Warriors can arrive to kill the Primal and they succeed with only moments to spare as the Warriors of Darkness arrive along with a mysterious elezen arcanist garbed in gray. This time the Warriors of Darkness offer up a bit more about themselves. They originally came from the world closest to the Source – the Source being the world that all the other mirrored fragments are based on and that the Warrior of Light resides in. Their world was strong with the Light and they were ultimately able to destroy the Ascians completely in Hydaelyn’s name. However, in their victory they found naught but destruction as instead of Darkness, they found their world being consumed by a Flood of Light. They realized that defeating the Darkness simply would doom a world to the same destruction but from the opposite power, they joined forces with the Ascians in hope of preserving a balance between Light and Dark and stopping the destruction of their world and all others.
Following the confrontation at Xelphatol, the Warrior of Light returns to find a recovered Allisae ready to join both the Warrior and her brother on their mission. Tataru has even prepared a set of adventuring clothes for her that to both of the twins’ delight is not identical to Alphinaud’s attire. The trio then make for the Waking Sands to meet with Urianger to see if any strange aetheric readings could lead them to the next whereabouts of the Warriors of Darkness. The researcher explains that there is a stirring in the kobold population that may warn of a resummoning of Titan and Alphinaud says they should make haste. However, Allisae confronts Urianger and asks him to research The Ardor – the event that the Ascians strive to achieve – and suggests the apocryphal tome known as The Gerun Oracles, the same book that Elidibus had shared with Urianger before in the Great Gubal Library, as a place to start. Alphinaud and the Warrior of Light look on confused as Urianger and Allisae have an uncomfortable moment of silence as they stare at each other before departing. They twins and the Warrior of Light make for the northern reaches of La Noscea to the kobold’s sacred mountain where they come across a young koboldling name Ga Bu. Ga Bu is trying to find help to stop his clan’s patriarch from sacrificing his parents to help fuel the summoning of Titan. The trio help Ga Bu steal crystals from the other kobolds but ultimately they find they must break into the Navel and stop them from summoning the Primal directly. However, Ga Bu is treated with the sight of his dead parents when they arrive and out of his agony and pain, his heart’s torment summons forth Titan. While Titan is nowhere near the strength that the Kobold’s had hoped, the primal is strong enough to prove a threat. After lashing out and striking down the other kobolds, the Warrior of Light leaps into the fray with Titan and defeats the massive Primal once more.
That night, Allisae shares a tender moment with Ga Bu who has remained silent since the defeat of Titan. No one is sure if the koboldling is just in shock or that his mind has been warped into being a thrall of Titan, but sadly they fear if the latter is true they’ll have to kill the koboldling for the safety of everyone else. At the same time in Thanalan, the Warrior of Darkness meets with the Gray Arcanist from before. The Arcanist relays to the Warrior of Darkness that despite the failure to spur the kobolds on to summoning an even stronger version of Titan, that Elidibus commands that they continue with this plan of provoking the Beast Tribes. The Warrior of Darkness is enraged by the response and the slow progress being made to saving his doomed world. The Arcanist then mentions that the Ascians aren’t the only ones who can trigger an Ardor. That something like killing the Warrior of Light would spread enough chaos to provoke another Calamity as well. The Warrior of Darkness relents and asks that the Arcanist arrange an encounter with the Warrior of Light. He promises to try and make the battle quick so the Warrior of Light won’t suffer. As the Warrior of Darkness departs, the Arcanist laments knowing that his friends Minfilia, Thancred, Yshtola and Moenbryda would not approve but he vows to remain steadfast in his goal. The next morning, the twins and the Warrior of Light prepare to depart Camp Overlook but Allisae begs the commander there to look after Ga Bu until they know for sure that he’s a thrall. However in that moment the koboldling stutters out a thank you to Allisae for her time and kind words before marching off to the Camp with the commander.
The trio return to the Waking Sands to inform Urianger that the Titan threat had been dealt with. Urianger in turn relays what he had learned about his studies into the Ardor. He confirms what the Word of the Mother said about the various reflections of the Source and that with each Calamity another reflection is destroyed. That with the seven Calamities already experienced, that only six reflections and the Source remain. Urianger also mentions that a shipment of stolen crystals were being sent to Little Ala Mhigo to aid the Resistance there – perhaps to aid in the summoning of the God Rhalgr – to aid in their battle against the Garlean Empire. The group sets Southern Thanalan as their next destination but as they leave the Waking Sands they are contacted by Thancred via Linkpearl who has news from the Ishgard Temple Guards raid on the suspected crystal smuggler’s warehouse. It appears that the smugglers were in the employ of a man in black robes – likely an Ascian – but also were formerly connected with The Ivy, the triple agent spy that had infiltrated the Immortal Flames some time ago. Thancred also confirms that they were just able to deduce that one shipment made it out of Ishgard before the raid – one bound for Little Ala Mhigo. Allisae asks if Thancred has shared this intel with anyone else and the Scion confirms that they are the first to be told. This news worries Allisae but Alphinaud and the Warrior of Light are simply confused.
The investigation in Little Ala Mhigo turns up quite a bit of news surrounding a new splinter group in the Resistance calling themselves The Masks and that they are led by a radical new firebrand calling himself The Griffin. As the name implies, the Griffin and all of his soldiers wear masks to hide their faces. The Warrior of Light visits the Griffin as he makes a rallying speech to the people of the Resistance talking about the great power they just acquired to help level the Empire and retake Gyr Abania from them. However during the speech, bother Alphinaud and the Warrior of Light recognize a pair of familiar faces in the back of the crowd. It’s Yda and Papalymo. They’ve apparently been here the whole time trying to repay the Resistance for their help in escaping Ul’dah after the Bloody Banquet. They tried to send a letter to let the Scions know where they were but either the courier never reached them or more likely that The Masks intercepted the letter to prevent communication with those outside the Resistance. Yda and Papalymo bring the Warrior of Light up to speed with what has been going on in Southern Thanalan with the rise of The Masks. They explain that The Griffin that the Warrior of Light just saw speaking was not the real one but a Fake Griffin who speaks on the real ones behalf for the sake of protection and that the fake apparently has more charisma to rally the people. They also explain that despite having a shared enemy in Garlemald that the Griffin and the Masks have no desire to ask the Scions for help and have no love or trust for the organization. Alphinaud mentions that they are here to investigating the summoning of a Primal. Papalymo says the Resistance would never do something like that – but the Griffin might. He suggests that you take up disguises as downtrodden adventurers and he and Yda will arrange a meeting with the Fake Griffin about “joining the cause”. Once the Fake Griffin is surrounded, he reveals that they have no desire to summon anything. They were simply going to trade the crystals to the Amal’jaa so they could summon Ifrit in exchange for the Amal’jaa’s help in the battle to retake Gyr Abania. Yda protests saying that would break the Resistance if they found out, but the Fake Griffin responds by saying this isn’t a fairy tale where everyone gets to keep their hands clean.
The group heads off to find the stolen shipments of crystals. They head into the Bowl of Embers to find the Warriors of Darkness surrounded by dead Amal’jaa. There they have their climactic battle between the members of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn and the Warriors of Darkness. But the Warriors of Darkness have an edge. Like the Ascians, they have lost their physical form and become bound to their crystals, and so long as their Crystals preserve their shine they will be resurrected time and again by the Echo. Ultimately, it comes down to Allisae summoning an Aetherial Blade to strike down the Warriors of Darkness to defeat them even if it is only for a moment. But that moment is all they need as the Gray Arcanist appears to reveal himself to be Urianger. He beseeches everyone to hold their crystals aloft and to channel their light all at once. The Warriors of Darkness and the Warrior of Light all do as they are told and everyone present is pulled into the Aetherial Sea to bear witness to Hydaelyn and the Word of the Mother. There Hydaelyn laments the fate that has befallen ‘The First’ – the Warriors of Darkness’ world – but states that with the Light that they have offered to Her that she is now strong enough to send Minfilia, the Word of the Mother, to the First as Her Emissary and absorb the excess Light back into Hydaelyn. Minfilia is given her free will back to say her farewells and thank yous to her closest friends and bestows Tupsimati – the remnants of Master Louisoix’s staff – to the Warrior of Light before departing with the Warriors of Darkness back to their world. The Scions return to Thanalan and decide to return to the Rising Stones in Mor Dhona to discuss what has happened but before heading off Yda is confronted by a face from her past: The Leader of the Resistance in Little Ala Mhigo and a family friend that fought with Yda’s father during the war. He remarks that Yda looks like she hasn’t aged a day since he saw her five years ago, to which Yda responds by blurting around random explanations of where she’s been before running off in a hurry. Papalymo growls and apologizes to the man before setting off after Yda muttering about how he regrets the day he gave her ‘that mask’.
Reuniting at the Rising Stones, the Scions discuss the matter of what happened with Minfilia and what direction their organization should take. Alphinaud suggests that instead of being bound by a single course of action that they should each be able to pursue their own tasks toward a shared goal, namely the salvation of Eorzea. Yda and Papalymo both agree to head back to Thanalan to watch the Resistance and to keep an eye out for The Griffin. Yshtola and Krile decide to continue their research into the Primals. Thancred and Urianger agree to protect Eorzea by defending her peoples and researching the Ascians respectively. Finally, Alphinaud and Allisae decide to continue to travel with the Warrior of Light – not as a continuation of their grandfather’s legacy but as adventurers and comrades-in-arms in their own right. Tataru chimes in saying that she’ll continue to keep the books and manage the Rising Stones. Before everyone departs, Papalymo asks the Warrior of Light to lend him Tupsimati and assures the Warrior that it will be in good hands before rejoining Yda who seems to be in deep thought.
Elsewhere, the Fake Griffin and the real Griffin meet to brief each other on what has been going on. The Fake Griffin departs just before the Griffin’s other guest – Elidibus – appears and declares that despite some issues that everything worked out as hoped. After all, an imbalanced world is just a world waiting to fall into the void and that is of no use to Lord Zodiark. He also offers the Griffin a gift suitable for someone whose heart is full of rage and is thirsty for revenge. Elidibus holds out a solid block of ice with the Eyes of Nidhogg trapped inside. Retrieved from the Cloud Sea by the Knight of Darkness. Meanwhile in the rocky wastes of Cartenau, Nero tol Scaeva finds an ancient Allagan monolith and gleefully announces that he knew it was here all along and they “they” are going to have such fun together.
The Far Edge of Fate (3.5)
The Scions have been called once more to the Rising Stones by Alphinaud to discuss something. Namely, Alphinaud seems to want someone to step up to Minfilia’s old position as more of a coordinator for the rest of the team. The rest of the Scions happily nominate Alphinaud for the role but he flat out refuses to do it after the incident with the Crystal Braves. They also point out that the Warrior of Light would be a good choice if not for the constantly saving the world and fighting Primals thing. Indeed, Papalymo points out that the job would be a full time task for anyone and he firmly believes that the Scions are all familiar with each other that coordination isn’t needed. Suddenly there’s a thud outside the solar as a miqote from the Ala Mhigan Resistance rushes collapses into the Rising Stones. She carries a message for Yda and Papalymo that The Griffin means to provoke a war between the Eorzean Alliance and the Imperials occupying Gyr Abania by assaulting Baelsar’s Wall, the massive metal wall that separates Gyr Abania from the Black Shroud. With no time to waste, the Scions dispatch to the City-States to spread the word of the threat. The Warrior of Light goes to see Ser Aymeric in Ishgard who calls an emergency meeting between the House of Lords and House of Commons to decide on a representative to meet with the rest of the Eorzean Alliance. Ser Aymeric, as the acting commander of Ishgard’s military, is chosen to go as the envoy but first wishes to send word to Camp Dragonhead about the possibility of Imperial attack. There the Warrior of Light encounters Emmanalain de Fortemps and his servant Honoroit who has been appointed as the commander of Dragonhead since the loss of Haurchefant left the position vacant.
The leaders all convene in Gridania to discuss what actions should be taken. Ishgard and the Doman Refugees volunteer to send forces to join with the Grand Companies at Baelsar’s Wall to keep the fighting from spilling into the Black Shroud. Alphinaud however worries that this may be an elaborate trap of the Griffin’s to provoke the Imperials into action with an increased military presence on the border. Meanwhile, Yda, Papalymo, Thancred and Yugiri sneak through a hidden tunnel used by the Resistance to the Gyr Abania side of the Wall to try and convince The Griffin to stop the attack before it begins while Alphinaud and the Warrior of Light meet with Hilda and the commanders of the Grand Companies to keep an eye on things. There’s not a moment of peace to have a conversation though as an explosion erupts atop the wall. A guard comes to announce that the Grand Company forces have begun an assault on the wall. The commanders confirm that there was no order to attack when Alphinaud realizes what is happening. The whole thing was indeed a trap. By tricking the Eorzean Alliance to fortify their borders then dressing The Griffin’s soldiers in Grand Company uniforms it would appear as though Eorzea was starting the war – Not Ala Mhigo’s resistance. Alphinaud takes off for the secret tunnel to find the allies that went through earlier while the Warrior of Light assaults the Wall directly.
It’s there on Baelsar’s Wall that the Warrior of Light confronts the true Griffin who reveals himself to be Ilberd, the traitor from within the Crystal Braves who sold out to Lord Lolorito to help fund his own personal revolution against the Empire’s occupation of Ala Mhigo. Despite being defeated by the Warrior of Light in combat and the other Scions joining the Fray, Ilberd laughs that his plan has already been completed. Further down on the wall, Ilberd’s accomplices Laurentius and Yuyuhase dressed in Imperial disguises release several magitek killing machines on the resistance fighters which slaughter them entirely. With their dying cries calling for vengeance, Ilberd uses the Eyes of Nidhogg and sacrifices himself as fuel to summon a Primal more terrible that the dread wyrm Bahamut. Seeing no options left, Papalymo orders everyone including the Warrior of Light and Yda to retreat as he draws out Tupsimati in hopes to recreate his teacher, Master Louisoix’s, sealing ritual that was used at the Battle of Cartenau. Knowing full well what happens to those who cast the ritual, Yda refuses to leave Papalymo’s side until Thancred forces her onto Hilda’s airship. Papalymo performs the ritual as everyone flees and is consumed in a brilliant white light as the still-forming Primal is sealed away in a Cocoon of Light. Back on the ground, Thancred tells Yda that if she chooses to hate him then he’ll accept it but don’t hate Papalymo. He knew what he was doing. Thancred laments saying that the lalafell had the same determined look on his face that Louisoix did that day years ago.
The Warrior of Light returns to the Rising Stones to let everyone know the fate of the mission and of Papalymo. Each member vows to throw themselves at their work even harder to solve the crisis of the Cocoon of Light in hopes to ward off their own grief. The Eorzean Alliance has called another meeting with the Scions and invited Cid Garland to join as well. Meanwhile in Vesper Bay, a towering samurai arrives in a row boat proudly laughing that he has finally arrived in Eorzea. Despite his grumbling stomach, the samurai vows that he will not bend to the will of a mewling gut before promptly passing out in front of a large crowd and Urianger, who has some inkling of an idea where the strange man came from. The meeting with the leaders of the Eorzean Alliance is less than productive however. No one is sure what to do about the terrible beast lingering inside the Cocoon of Light. The only answer comes in the form of a gate crasher – Nero tol Scaeva – who suggests that they use the same method that the ancient Allagan utilized to capture Bahamut originally: Omega. The great anti-primal weapon is still sealed away beneath the Cartenau Plains. While no one trusts Nero, both because of and in spite of his actions at the Crystal Tower, everyone at the meeting agrees that seems to be the only solution. Back at the Rising Stones, the massive samurai has arrived under the invitation of “Lord Urianger.” He recognizes Yugiri immediately and claims he has come to fetch her to aid their Lord back in Doma. Yugiri introduces the man as a samurai named Gotetsu, and explains to Gotetsu that she is honor bound to aid the Scions and the Doman people who now reside in Mor Dhona. Learning that the fight is against the Imperials, Gotetsu happily volunteers to join the battle as well.
The team is assembled and heads out to Cartenau on the Excelsior where they run afoul of a group of Imperial soldiers. After a fierce battle, Cid and Nero prep Omega for activation but Yda questions whether or not this is the correct course to take. Since Yda hails from Ala Mhigo Cid decides that she should be the one to decide whether or not Omega is launched there. Yda thinks on the matter for a moment before punching the button and launching the frighteningly powerful weapon into the sky and towards Gyr Abania. There floating above Baelsar’s Wall, a monstrous dragon known to the Doman people as Shinryu erupts from the Cocoon of Light and Omega engages the Primal in a battle that lights up the night sky with terrible explosions of raw power before both monsters vanish across the horizon. Back in the control bunker, the group has no clue what has transpired due to Omega’s sensors unexpectedly giving out during the battle. Unsure of where the machine went, Cid sends the Stasis mode codes and the group heads out. On the way back to the Excelsior, the Warrior of Light catches that Yda’s neck tattoos that mark her as an Archon of the Circle of Knowing vanish.
The leaders meet once again in Gridania where they decide to seize to opportunity to gain the aid of the Ala Mhigan Resistance should a war with the Empire occur and dispatch Raubahn and his son to secure Baelsar’s Wall and a path into Gyr Abania. Raubahn declares on the Wall that in the memory of his once friend Ilberd that he will reclaim their homeland. Back with the Scions, Yda reveals that she isn’t who she has claimed to be. Her name is Lyse. She is Yda’s younger sister. Lyse took up Yda’s mask and identity six years ago when the real Yda died aiding refugees fleeing a legion of Imperial troops. With Papalymo gone and his final request to her being to walk her own path, she has decided to stop hiding behind the mask and to continue her family’s legacy to fight for a free Ala Mhigo.
In the Twelveswood, Yugiri and Gotetsu make their departure for the long journey back to Doma. Yugiri is sorrowful to leave behind her companions and friends, but she is honor bound to return now that her immediate duty is finished in Eorzea. In Ala Mhigo, the Imperial Viceroy who controls Gyr Abania expresses great interest in the fate of Omega and more so Shinryu while an unknown face grins in the darkness.
Enjoying Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward? Perhaps you would like to learn more about the series up to this point and catch all the little (and sometimes not so little) references to the series’ larger history? You might want to check out my Final Fantasy Retrospective series where I am replaying the entire franchise from the start live on Twitch with both archived VODs and edited videos on Youtube.