Throughout Eorzean history, whether it be in folklore or myth, there has been mention of dark, shadowless figures known as Ascians who, with their twisted words, would incite strife between peoples-most recently teaching the beast tribes of Eorzea how to summon primals and essentially igniting a war spanning multiple continents. According to recent research by the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, there is proof that the Calamities, once believed to be natural occurrences, were actually triggered by the crooked schemings of the Ascians in an attempt to bring about a phenomenon known as the Rejoining-a form of dimensional compression desired by their deity, Zodiark.
— Encyclopaedia Eorzea Volume 1
The Ascians, or The Convocation of Fourteen, are what remain of the Ancients, a primordial race of beings who populated the star more than 12,000 years ago. After the Unsundered survived the Sundering, they regrouped and now attempt to control history to drive the Source and its Shards to a Rejoining to return the world to its unsundered state. The unsundered are thralls tempered to the elder primal Zodiark.
The standard attire of an Ascian is a long hooded black robe with markings and silver adornments. They also wear black pants and boots, and either a red or black mask that indicates their rank. The only exception to this is Elidibus, who wears a white robe.
Ascians have an established hierarchy, in line with who they were before the Sundering. The leaders of the Ascians are the Unsundered, Members of the Convocation of Fourteen who retain access to Creation Magic. These are Lahabrea, Emet-Selch and Elidibus. Below them are the remaining members of the Convocation of the Fourteen, who are also powerful in their own right but have lost the ability to use their Creation Magic. They are known as the Ascian Overlords:
Beneath them are the Minor Ascians, or "Black Masks," who are much less powerful than their overlord counterparts. They are often unnamed. The Convocation members are 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.
Before recorded history, the Ancients were the only beings that inhabited the star. The Ancients were able to wield Creation magic, which they used to build a glorious utopia. The citizens were able to dedicate themselves to their principals of rhetoric, creation and public service. These beings were ruled over by the Convocation of the Fourteen, who were the wisest and able to use Creation magic to the fullest.
But one day, something creating a sound that disrupted the use of their Creation magic echoed from within the star, causing the birth of malformed creatures formed from the Ancients' deepest fears. Because their magic was corrupted, they were unable to bring the creatures under control. This caused the people to further despair, creating more monsters and causing more chaos. This time of destruction came to be known as the "Final Days".
Realizing they had little chance to bring the chaos under control, the Convocation sought to rewrite the laws of reality of the star. To achieve this, the Convocation sought to summon Zodiark, a being of immeasurable power. However, the cost to call this being forward was great, requiring the life force of half the Ancients still alive to amass the amount of Aether required. Opposing this, the Ancient named Azem left her position on the council, not wishing to take part in the senseless loss of life.
And so, the Convocation sacrificed half of the Ancients to summon Zodiark, with Elidibus acting as the ancient Primal's heart. Zodiark was able to prevent the total destruction of the star, however the Final Days had rendered the planet a destroyed, lifeless place.
The Convocation sought to use Zodiark's power once again to restore their home to its former glory, however there were Ancients who opposed this idea, not viewing using the primal's power as worth the cost. This group of Ancients were led by Venat, arguing that the loss of life to bring back those who were previously sacrificed to summon the primal the first time was foolish.
From this conflict, the Ancients under Venat sacrificed themselves to summon Hydaelyn, with Venat acting as its heart. They used this primal to seal Zodiark and lock his powers.
The two primals were locked in an eternal conflict, destroying what little life was left on the star. This continued until Hydaelyn struck Zodiark down with all her might, shattering the very fabric of reality, splitting off thirteen reflections later called Shards. This also split the souls of the remaining Ancients across the shards as well. This came to be known as the Sundering.
Elidibus, Emet-Selch and Lahabrea managed to survive the Sundering. But seeing the damage caused by the battle between Hydaelyn and Zodiark, they came together and vowed to restore the world and the Ancients to what they were before the Final Days. They set about finding the souls of the other members of the Convocation to bring them together once again, and planned to use the newly created life forms to summon Zodiark to Rejoin the shards back to the Source and unsunder the souls of their people.
After gathering the members of the Convocation together, the group reunited under the name of Ascians, and set off to each of the Shards to bring about large enough Calamities to force the Shards to rejoin the Source.
Each Shard was to be overseen by an Ascian. However, this changed after Igeyorhm accidentally led the heroes of the Thirteenth to being exposed to the corrupted Aether of Primals trapped within Auracite. This caused the people of the Thirteenth to go mad and attack one another, bringing about the Calamity of Darkness, turning the Thirteenth Shard into the Void. From here, the Ascians worked in groups to bring Calamities to each Shard. Notable examples of the Ascians influencing events in history are Emet-Selch starting the Garlean Empire or Elidibus becoming the first Warrior of Light in history.
Throughout the Source's history, The Ascians have worked to sow chaos and destruction. By creating a Calamity on a Shard and a corresponding Calamity on the Source, the Shard will rejoin to the Source. So they set about sharing their Creation magic with the people to teach them to summon Primals. THe first time this can be seen on the Source is when the Meracydians summoned Bahamut against the Allagan Empire.
A Realm Reborn
Following the Seventh Umbral Calamity, the Ascians became much more active in their efforts to influence the Source. They openly worked with governments and beast tribes, taking advantage of their current issues to convince them to summon their Eikons into existance.
The Ascians' actions were uncovered with several reports of "masked mages spotted interacting with the beast tribes. This would usually be followed by Primal activity. The Ascians were also involved in other schemes, such as the Ala Mhigan youth attempting to summon Rhalgr or the events at Haukke Manor.
The Ascians influenced the Garleans into seeking out the Ultima Weapon made by the Allagans and using it to absorb the Aether of summoned Primals. By possessing Thancred Waters, the Ascians are also able to test the Warrior of Light and the Scions of the Seventh Dawn to see if they would be useful in their schemes. However, the Ascians' plans end up thwarted by the Warrior of Light and even lead to the defeat and destruction of Nabriales after he attempted to steal the Staff of Tupsimati to make use of its Aether-gathering abilities.
After the attack of the Horde on the Steps of Faith, the Ascians take advantage of the confusion to make a pact with Thordan VII and teach him and his knights twelve how to summon King Thordan and his holy knights into themselves. They hope to use the Dragonsong War as a way to incite the eighth Rejoining, however the Warrior of Light and the Scions manage to end the war before Thordan can use his power to attack the dragons. Fleeing to the Aetherochemical Research Facility on Azys Lla, Thordan lies in wait for the Warrior of Light, however Lahabrea and Igeyorhm use the power of the Echo to fuse into the Ascian Prime and attack them first.
The Warrior of Light defeats the Ascian Prime, and, unable to maintain its form, reverts back to the two separate Ascians. The Warrior of Light destroys Igeyorhm with White Auracite and Lahabrea attempts to flee, but Thordan destroys the Ascian to absorb his Aether.
The remaining Ascians use the distraction of the Liberation War of Ala Mhigo to recede somewhat into the background. They continue to bend the ear of the Emperor, encouraging him to continue assaulting Eorzea.
After the death of Zenos yae Galvus, Elidibus entered his grave and possessed his body to bring Zenos's considerable might to bear against the Warrior of Light, while Emet-Selch possessed the cloned body of the previous emperor, Emperor Solus.
Elidibus goes up against the Warrior of Light on the battlefield, however the Warrior is able to soundly defeat him, even with Zenos's strength. Before the Warrior of Light can deal the finishing blow, however, they are knocked unconscious. Elidibus attempts to finish the Warrior of Light off, but is rebuffed by Estinien Wyrmblood.
Upon returning to the Empire, Elidibus encounters Zenos' spirit possessing another body. Rather than fight him, he flees to the First to join Emet-Selch. Zenos is able to return to his body and obtain his full strength.
Shadowbringers Emet-Selch entreats with the Scions and teaches them about the origins of his people and the reason they are trying to enact the Rejoining. They learn of how Emet-Selch orchestrated the Flood and how he turned Vauthry into a Lightwarden. It turns out that he also wanted the Warrior of Light to defeat the Lightwardens to become one themselves. When this failed, he retreated to the Tempest and recreated the city of Amaurot.
The Scions pursued Emet-Selch to the city, where he showed them the Final Days. Undeterred, they continued to attack him, but were made short work of. Only the Warrior of Light was able to stand against him, appearing to be some form of reincarnation of Azem, but Emet-Selch refused to believe this, calling it "a trick of the Light". The two faced off, casting aside titles and battling with their true selves, Emet-Selch revealing his true name to be Hades.
Eventually, the Warrior of Light and the Scions managed to defeat Emet-Selch. Before fading away, he simply requests that they "Remember that they lived".
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.
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.