Ascians

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The Ascians are the principal antagonists in Final Fantasy XIV. They wear black (or rarely, white) robes and masks that conceal their faces. They are powerful, mysterious, and almost-immortal servants of Zodiark, the god of Darkness that opposes Hydaelyn. Many questions about these beings yet remain unanswered, for lack of evidence. The few details we do know about the Ascians are heavily entwined with key story details for all expansions of Final Fantasy XIV.

From the shadows, they have shaped history by imparting forbidden knowledge until mortals, stoking the fires of war while revealing the secrets of primal summoning. Throughout history they have been known by many a name, among those, Paragons, and the Bringers of Chaos.

— Encyclopaedia Eorzea Volume 1 (2022 printing), page 213

Overview

Long ago, in a time well before recorded history, Hydaelyn battled and triumphed against the will of Darkness, Zodiark, casting him into space, and imprisoning him within the silver Moon. In doing so, Hydaelyn tore open the dimensional fabric, spawning thirteen mirror images of the world, and effectively dividing--or "Sundering"-- the aether that made up the original world into fourteen parts. [1]

Doctrines and Beliefs

To wake their exiled god, Zodiark, the Ascians seek to "rejoin" these mirrored worlds with the original "source" world, by breaking down the walls between dimensions, causing the mirror worlds to collapse in on themselves. On the Source, where Final Fantasy XIV takes place, this also causes Umbral Calamities.[1]

Operating together under a strict social hierarchy, the Ascians have successfully "rejoined" a recorded total of seven worlds by sowing chaos and discord on Hydaelyn, but they do not accomplish this randomly; they have clear methods, now practiced a total of seven times.

Ascian Overlords

Efforts to cause the necessary conditions for these Rejoinings are led, foremost, by the three Unsundered Ascians, also known as the Ascian Overlords. The overlords are fundamentally more powerful than their counterparts because their souls were able to escape the effects of Hydaelyn's Sundering, retaining their original identities and abilities, whereas all other souls that existed at the time were divided into fourteen parts among the fourteen worlds.

Overlords make up the topmost rung of the Ascian social hierarchy. To them, all other beings are considered inferior, and therefore disposable.

Red-masked Ascians

The Ancient people who existed before the Sundering were governed by a structure of their own, a council of fourteen members, known as the Convocation of Fourteen. The Convocation members are also referred to by their title, or seat, and have different personal names from before assuming a position on the council. A successor would then assume the name of the seat they filled. Preceding the sundering, each of the current members of the Convocation stored their memories in crystal, a format that the ancients commonly used for information.

Seeking allies for their cause in the times that came after the Sundering, the Ascian Overlords would seek out the souls that were sundered from the former Convocation members, restore their memories, and thus bring them back into the fold. Each Ascian occupying a seat on the "new" Convocation of Fourteen wears a red mask as their ancient counterparts did, with each mask bearing a design symbolizing the owner's specific seat on the Convocation. The Ascian Overlords, each being members of the Convocation prior to the sundering, also wear red masks for this reason.

Black-masked Ascians

Frequently unnamed, Ascians wearing black masks are exclusively made up of sundered peoples recruited to the Ascians by other members. How or why these specific people are recruited is unclear, and probably varies on a situational basis.

White Robes

Some Ascians, including the Overlord Elidibus, wear white robes instead of the usual black. This indicates that the ascian wearer is an "emissary." The symbolism of the robes also dates back to the ancients, but the meaning used by the ascians is somewhat different.

Known Members

Overlords

Red Masks

The remaining Red-mask Ascians appeared in a cutscene around Patch 2.3, but have yet to reappear in-game as of Patch 6.25.

  • Altima
  • Halmarut
  • Deudalaphon
  • Emmerololth -- the one exception on this list. Mentioned again in Patch 4.55, but still does not appear on screen.
See also: The Convocation of Fourteen


Black Masks

Not including instances of "masked mages" from 2.0 that were actually just Lahabrea

History

A Realm Reborn (2.0)

Following the Seventh Umbral Calamity, the Ascians became much more active in their efforts to influence the Source. The Ascians' actions were uncovered with several reports of "Masked Mages" spotted interacting with the beast tribes. Lahabrea was the first named Ascian introduced, introducing himself to the Warrior of Light within the depths of Toto-Rak during the Level 24 quest Into the Beast's Maw. It would be him, operating from the shadows, working to manipulate Legatus Gaius van Baelsar into being an unwitting pawn for his master plan. The Garleans would cooperate while being completely unaware of his true motives, seeking out the Ultima Weapon made by the Allagans, and using it to absorb the Aether of summoned Primals.

Lahabrea struck a personal nerve with the Scions when he took possession of Thancred Waters, using him as a spy against his friends for an unknown amount of time before revealing his charade during Escape from Castrum Centri. Thancred remained the unwilling vessel of Lahabrea until Operation Archon; after the Warrior of Light's defeat of the Ultima Weapon, Lahabrea attempted to kill the hero using the powers of darkness. His attempt was unsuccessful, and the Scions together, with Hydaelyn's power backing them, expelled Lahabrea from Thancred's body.

2.0 Epilogue

In the Epilogue cutscene for A Realm Reborn, Lahabrea was shown to have survived his expulsion, and three more named Ascians were introduced with their hoods down, but faces obscured. This included Pashtarot, Igeyorhm, and Nabriales in that order.


Pashtarot: Bahamut stirs.
Igeyorhm: As will the others ere long.
Nabriales: 'Tis not a question of whether Eorzea's champion shall yield, but of when.
Lahabrea: And with each passing moment we draw closer to the Reckoning.
(Lahabrea raises his hands, and the camera zooms out to reveal the presence of more hooded Ascians behind them).
Ascians: To the one true god!
Ascians: To Zodiark!

— Cutscene dialogue following Lahabrea's defeat, during The Ultimate Weapon

Patch 2.1

As the Scions are making preparations to depart for Mor Dhona, the white-robed Ascian Elidibus appears within the solar and introduces himself to Minfilia as 'emissary of the Ascians.' Elidibus departs again in at the end of The Gifted, leaving the Warrior of Light with some ominous words to chew on.

"As it was, so shall it be again."

— Elidibus, during The Gifted

After this, Nabriales appears again in a brief confrontation with Elidibus, asking him why he revealed himself to the Scions.

During cutscenes for the Extreme fights for The Howling Eye, The Navel, and The Bowl of Embers, we are first introduced to an unnamed Ascian of the Twelfth Staff and an Ascian of the Twelfth Sword. Their contribution to the plot is minimal at best.

Patches 2.2 through 2.5

  • Elidibus is credited with "granting the Echo" to a Sahagin priest, teaching him how to cheat death by possessing the body of another. Interestingly enough, this is also the first recorded case of an Ascian who does not belong to one of the "races of man", even if he was shortly subsumed by the Primal Leviathan
  • In What Little Gods Are Made Of, the first information is revealed about how Ascian "immortality" works, resulting in a wonderful slideshow presentation. Within this same quest is another scene with the Ascian Convocation meeting in the Chrysalis, in which Emmerololth and Altima are named and shown on screen for the first time. We also get to see the first visual depiction of Zodiark, outside of his "crystal" form.
  • In The Instruments of Our Deliverance, Nabriales is shown observing the defeat of Shiva at the hands of the Warrior of Light.
  • The scenes during Aether on Demand give us our second slideshow presentation about the Scion's plan to trap an Ascian soul within White Auracite, the first step in destroying it. Later, Nabriales meets his end during An Uninvited Ascian, marking the first time an Ascian is permanently killed.

Heavensward (Patch 3.0)

  • Lahabrea and Igeyorhm work in the background for most of the expansion, teaching various parties how to summon new primals.
  • During the Summoner class quests, the Ascian of the Twelfth Chalice flees Azys Lla after being defeated by the Warrior of Light. The finale of these quests results in the defeat of the Ascians of the Twelfth Chalice, Staff, Sword, and Pentacle. These scenes also reveal that the four of them are specifically servants of Lahabrea (or were). Their mortal forms are defeated, but it is unclear if they are able to harness rebirth the same way their masters do.
  • On Azys Lla, Lahabrea and Igeyorhm use the power of the Echo to fuse into an Ascian Prime for the first time. After the defeat of Ascian Prime, Igeyorhm dies at the hands of the Warrior of Light, using a White Auracite in their possession. Following this, Lahabrea dies after being betrayed by Thordan VII, who consumes the aether of his soul to further empower his primal form.
  • Elidibus reappears in an Epilogue scene, shown on the Moon for the first time.

Patches 3.1 through 3.5

Stormblood (Patch 4.0)

  • Ascians are largely absent from this expansion, as the Echo and its capabilities take the stage in other ways.
  • An unnamed Ascian causes trouble under the sea: Kurenai of Sui-no-Sato mentions the visitation of a "man cloaked in black" in the days before a voidsent takes possession of the Ruby Princess's body.
  • At the conclusion of Stormblood, Elidibus appears to Emperor Solus after the death of his son, Zenos. Elidibus removes his mask before the Emperor, causing him shock for reasons that are not revealed within the scene.

Patch 4.1 through 4.5

  • Elidibus is revealed to have stolen the body of Zenos from its unmarked grave in Ala Mhigo, and assumes his identity.
  • Elidibus teaches Asahi sas Brutus how to summon a primal, leading to the summoning of Tsukuyomi.
  • A Garlean man who calls himself "Shadowhunter" is revealed, displaying several Ascian masks on his belt that he has taken as trophies. It is unclear if his actions resulted in the "true death" of the Ascians involved, or if he merely dispatched their corporeal forms.
  • In Patch 4.4, Solus zos Galvus is introduced, and revealed to be an Ascian, and to have built the Garlean Empire specifically to further the goals of the Ascians.
  • A memo from Galuf Baldesion reveals that, by casting the Isle of Val into the Lifestream, they also ensured the defeat of an Ascian known as Emmerololth, also ensuring that he would "never reform."
  • The Warrior of Light does battle against Elidibus posing as Zenos. Due to an untimely vision, he deals a critical blow and nearly defeats the Warrior, but is foiled by Estinien Wyrmblood rescuing them before he can deal a finishing blow. Elidibus-Zenos returns to Garlemald afterwards.
  • Upon returning to the Empire, Elidibus encounters Zenos' spirit possessing another body. Rather than fight him, he flees to the First.

Shadowbringers (Patch 5.0)

  • In this expansion we get a very clear idea of what happens with Rejoinings, Umbral Calamities and how the Ascians have been involved the whole time.
  • Solus zos Galvus comes forth pretty quickly and re-introduces himself as the Unsundered Ascian, Emet-Selch. Although his objectives remain obscured for several chapters, Emet-Selch eventually emerges as the primary antagonist of the expansion.
  • When the Scions reach The Tempest, we are first introduced to the concept of the Ancients and their capitol city, Amaurot, through the recreation made by Emet-Selch (other details that were revealed about the Ancients during this time are detailed on that page).
  • The Final Days is also name-dropped and partially explained during the final few chapters, before the Warrior of Light eventually fights and kills Emet-Selch.

Patch 5.1 through 5.3

  • Release of the first two parts of the Eden raid series, providing hints about the past and potential future on the First.
  • Release of the lead-up to Seat of Sacrifice, featuring Elidibus.

Patch 5.3

Elidibus, now the last remaining Unsundered, heads to the First and possesses the body of Ardbert and awakens the latent power of the Echo in the people of the First to continue the legend of the Warrior of Light, using their faith in the myth to strengthen himself the way a primal would feed on the faith of those who would summon it.

Elidibus, at his peak strength, attacks the Crystal Tower and summons simulacrums of the Warriors of Light from other worlds to fight the darkness with him. He and the Warrior of Light engage in combat at the top of the tower, and he almost wins. However, in a turn of events, the call that Elidibus evoked reached Emet-Selch, who pulled the Warrior of Light out of the Void to continue the fight.

The Warrior of Light prevails, and the last Unsundered Ascian was sealed within the Crystal Tower. Before fading completely, the remnants of Elidibus's shade gifts the Warrior of Light with the Soul Crystals of the Convocation of the Fourteen, sharing his memories with them. With Elidibus gone, the Ascians can no longer replenish their ranks, meaning the end of them and their plans.

Patch 5.4

  • Release of Eden's Promise, the final third of the Eden Raids, revealing the history and fate of Mitron and Loghrif on The First.

Patch 5.5

After the death of Elidibus, Fandaniel begins to act of his own accord. He entreats with Zenos and convinces him to help him in his mission to destroy the Source, promising him the chance to face off against the Warrior of Light one more time.

Fandaniel confronts the Scions upon their return to the Source, warning them that he and his group of rogue Ascians, the Telophoroi, will destroy the Source using their Lunar Primals, which they create by kidnapping the people of the Source and trapping them in strange towers, draining their Aether to summon the twisted versions of the Primals. Fandaniel, Zenos and the rest of the as yet unnamed Telophoroi ready to engage with the Warrior of Light, who intends to stop their coming apocalypse.

Endwalker (Patch 6.0)

Fandaniel siphoned aether from his towers around Eorzea and concentrated them upon the Tower of Babil. Knowing the the prison of Zodiark laid upon the moon, Fandaniel used the aether to severely weaken Zodiark's binds, and had Zenos finish the job. Fandaniel then plunged into The Dark Inside and took control of Zodiark's body, and battled the Warrior of Light. The Warrior defeated the incomplete Zodiark, but the elder primal's destruction had been the Ascian's goal all along, as it recommenced the Final Days. Zodiark's death in Fandaniel's suicidal gambit marked the end of the Ascians as a threat, if any remained.

Patch 6.1

No Ascians appeared in this patch.

Patch 6.2

No Ascians appeared in this patch.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Encyclopedia Eorzea, 2022 edition, "Dimensional Compression"