The ancients are an extinct race of progenitor humanoids in Final Fantasy XIV. The first known people of Etheirys, they lived on the star as the majority until the sundering by Hydaelyn that saw the aetherical splitting of both the star and their very beings. The ancients' split souls were reincarnated as the new races on the Source and its thirteen shards, which are the people and playable races of Final Fantasy XIV.
The ancients are extremely tall compared to the modern races of Etheirys, appearing as giants. Their general appearances resemble a mixture of Hyur and Elezen traits with a variety of hair colors (including lavender, white, red, and black), diverse skin profiles and, unique to them, brightly-coloured glowing eyes. Only ancients associated with Amaurot have been depicted, who typically wear plain black robes and white masks to reinforce their people's sense of community over individuality. Members of the Convocation wore red masks with unique shapes and patterns, while those considered 'advisors' or particularly wise individuals wore white robes instead of black.
The ancients possess vast aetheric pools and use creation magick to bring forth living beings, such as the first primals. They utilize ancient and more powerful versions of spells, such as "True Cure" and "True Tornado". Select few had the special skill of "soul sight". The ancients also possessed a variety of abilities simply known as "the gift", which include: clairvoyance; future sight; the ability to understand, and be understood by, all beings with a soul regardless of language; among other abilities.
The ancients were ruled by the Convocation of Fourteen. Through their innate ability to use "creation magick", they accomplished wondrous feats, creating concepts of creatures to better the star. They built utopian cities where citizens lived lives dedicated to rhetoric (debate), creation (art and science), and public service. Amaurot was the center of their civilization and home to the Convocation of Fourteen, a council of their most knowledgeable and powerful users of creation magick. Two institutions where creation magick was practiced were Elpis, a 'testing grounds' where creations were refined and examined before being released upon the star, and Pandæmonium, where the most dangerous of the ancients' creations were kept for closer study.
There is no known naming convention for the ancients, however they generally have names inspired by the real world ancient Greece and Greek myth.
The Convocation of Fourteen was the main governing body of Etheirys, charged with overseeing policies and ensuring order in creation. It consisted of fourteen offices held by individuals who were leading authorities in their fields of expertise, or possessed skills to facilitate their duties. Members of the Convocation went by their titles for the duration of their time in office.
Other ancients outside the Convocation include:
- Venat - The previous Azem who mentored her successor and continued her work on Etheirys after stepping down. In opposition to the repeated sacrifices to Zodiark, she became the heart of Hydaelyn and sundered the star.
- Hythlodaeus - Chief of the Bureau of the Architect and friend to Emet-Selch and Azem.
- Themis - A young man tasked by his friend Azem to investigate the anomalies in Pandæmonium.
- Erichthonios - A warder of Pandæmonium's Asphodelos layer and the son of Lahabrea and Athena.
- Hesperos - The keyward of Pandæmonium's Asphodelos layer.
- Athena - Lahabrea's deceased significant other, Erichthonios' mother, who served as previous chief keyward of Pandæmonium.
In prehistory, a single race, known as the ancients, inhabited all corners of the planet Etheirys. The actions of the Convocation's current "Fandaniel", Hermes, doomed their people when he allowed his creations, Meteion and her sisters, to commence the song of oblivion. Only the former "Azem", Venat, escaped Hermes's act of altering the memories of those who learned of his deed. The Meteia's song stagnated Etheirys's aether and instilled despair in the ancients, warping their creation magick to unleash monsters formed from their subconscious fears. The ancients struggled to contain the chaos with some still believing that the Convocation would find a solution while the rest gave in to dread and despair, further fueling the disaster. This calamity would come to be known as the Final Days.
The Convocation predicted that the inexorable spread of fear and chaos would consume their world and render it lifeless, the now amnesiac Hermes—none the wiser of the true cause—deducing the aether stagnation was the catalyst. The Convocation devised a plan to "weave the laws of reality anew" through the summoning of Zodiark, an entity able to quell the aether stagnation as a darkness-attribute primal. The ancient with the title of "Azem" refused to participate and left the Convocation who yet went on to sacrifice half of the ancients' population for the amount of aether needed to summon Zodiark; the ancient bearing the title of "Elidibus" offered himself as Zodiark's core. Though the summoning halted the Final Days, it was but a temporary solution, as the calamity had reduced most of the star into a lifeless, blighted land, prompting the Convocation to sacrifice another half of their population to restore life to the world.
To recreate their lost paradise, the Convocation sought to call upon Zodiark's power once more by offering the primal the harvested life energies of the new life forms that had been born in their world to reconstitute those who had sacrificed themselves and now rested within their deity. Venat assembled a faction of ancients who opposed the Convocation's plans to sacrifice the new life forms, resulting in the race's first inner conflict. Elidibus sensed the antipathy unfolding and separated himself from Zodiark to aid the Convocation as a primal in a failed attempt to restore order. Venat used her followers' sacrifice to become Hydaelyn to subjugate Zodiark to buy time until she would devise a permanent solution to stop the Meteia. The two arch-primals fought ceaselessly until Hydaelyn used all her strength to fragment Zodiark, shattering the "very fabric of reality" and dividing the world into thirteen reflections and the Source, while the fragmented Zodiark was sealed within a new silver moon. Amaurot was destroyed along the remains of the ancients' civilization, while the souls of the living similarly split into fourteen pieces across the fragmented worlds. The fragmented survivors of this event would eventually develop into the world's current races.
Elidibus and two other Convocation members, Lahabrea and Emet-Selch, escaped the sundering with their souls intact. The three formed the Ascian cult and resolved to orchestrate a series of events to revive Zodiark and restore their home via Umbral Calamities, cataclysms designed to gradually merge the Source and the thirteen shards back into the original Etheirys. After the seventh such calamity, they came to be opposed by the reincarnation of the last Azem's soul fragment, the Warrior of Light, and their various supporters from all around the world, including the Scions of the Seventh Dawn. Eventually, this culminated in the foiling the Ascians' plans for a Rejoining, and the defeating of Zodiark Himself. Without His protective aether shroud, the Final Days resumed. The Warrior and the Scions looked into the world's true history and the people who had originally inhabited the intact world to learn the Final Days' true cause, and met the primal Venat had become, Hydaelyn, in the aetherial sea. She challenged the warriors to see if they had the strength to prevail against Meteion, and with her passing, the last remnants of the ancient people could be seen as being gone, though their souls live on in the aetherial sea, still part of the fabric of reality.