Ardbert, also known as Arbert and The Warrior of Darkness, is a character from Final Fantasy XIV. He is the leader of the the Warriors of Darkness and serves as the main antagonist of Patch 3.4, and later one of the tritagonists of Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers.
Ardbert is angry, brash and cynical. Quick to decry the notion of heroes and bemoan his role in dooming his world to a Flood of Light, he acts as a foil to the Warrior of Light and their companions' consistent optimism. Ardbert is good at heart and treasures his companions dearly, expressing anger and frustration at being forced to play the villain during his time on the Source to save his world.
When he meets the Warrior of Light as a spirit on the First, he follows them, and through observing their actions slowly regains his sense of hope.
Early life Edit
Ardbert hails from the First, one of the shards of the Source, a world thus similar to Hydaelyn. He was pursuing a hobgoblin in Kholusia only for it to lead him into an ambush. At the brink of death he was met by the dwarven healer Lamitt, who healed his wounds. Realizing that her healing would make it easier for him to deal with the goblins, he asked her to join his party. Following the defeat of the hobgoblins, Lamitt decided to travel with Ardbert, becoming the first of his friends.
During his travels Ardbert befriended the adventurers Branden, Renda-Rae, Nyelbert and Cylva. They took on a job into the mines of Amh Araeng to slay a beast causing tremors. Along the way Renda-Rae and Branden were separated from the rest of the group due to a cave-in. After slaying the beast in the mines, they learned the stone dropped by the beast had caused the tremors, and Nyelbert planned to use it to save his friend. In the end he destroyed it to save the people of the mountain, and was gifted a crystal of light for his sacrifice.
Their adventures took them to the Rak'tika Greatwood, where Renda-Rae heard that the beast Balam Quitz was sighted in the area. She snuck off at night to face the creature alone, but Ardbert and the others showed up to help slay the beast. When Renda-Rae explained why she went off alone, Ardbert pretended to scold her and then joked about her good hearing to cheer her up. He asked her to trust in her friends and bring them along next time. She collected her prize when gifted with a crystal of light for trusting her friends.
After amassing fame across the realm, the friends traveled to Voeburt to aid in investigating a mysterious plague. They discovered it was the court mage's doing and put him to the sword, but with his final act he cursed the princess and transformed her into a monster. Ardbert volunteered to slay her so that his friend didn't have to slay someone he held dear, only for Branden to request he himself do it, and in doing so was given a crystal of light. Following their victory in Voeburt, Lamitt sought to help those in her village from a disease known as Stoneblight. They traveled to ancient Ronkan ruins to find a magic able to cure it, and Lamitt was gifted a crystal of light. Once she returned to the village the elder was furious and exiled her. Ardbert tried to defend her only for the elder to shut him down. In the end, she accepted her punishment and those formerly stoneblighted decided to leave with her. Ardbert comforted her by saying he was glad she was there, helmet or no.
Ardbert and co traveled to Lakeland to face the Shadowkeeper only to discover it was their companion Cylva all along. Faced with a difficult decision, Ardbert faced off against Cylva, but refrained from killing her out of love for his friend. He pursued the Ascians, Loghrif and Mitron, who had been the ones to manipulate Cylva into doing their bidding, and struck them down.
Following the defeat of the Ascians the whole world began to be consumed in Light, destroying all in its path, Ardbert believing himself responsible for the catastrophe. Elidibus, the Emissary of the Ascians, told him that he could save their world by traveling to another and causing a Rejoining.
The five heroes give up their bodies to traverse unto the Source, and are tasked with harassing the beast tribes and killing the Warrior of Light of the Source. A final confrontation at the Bowl of Embers reveals to the Scions of the Seventh Dawn that the Warriors of Darkness offered up their lives in their own world to travel here. When they begin to use their crystals of light, the Warrior of Light draws upon their own and transports them all to the realm of Goddess Hydaelyn. Here Ardbert attempts to strike down Minfilia when she offers to save the First, but is stopped, and promises to return to the First with her. Before he leaves he tells the Warrior of Light to take a different path than the one they chose.
Ardbert returns to the First with the other Warriors of Darkness and Minfilia. She uses the souls of the other warriors, except for Ardbert, who doesn't understand why. For a century Ardbert wanders the realm as a shade unable to communicate with anyone or touch anything.
When the Warrior of Light travels to the First much later (due to the time difference between the Source and the First), Ardbert is surprised that someone can finally hear him. Ardbert reveals more of his history gradually as the Warrior of Light (now known as the Warrior of Darkness) vanquishes the Light from the First. They relate to each other's experiences, Ardbert questioning details the Ascian Emet-Selch has revealed about Hydaelyn, and comforts the Warrior in their moments of pain struggling to contain the Light within them. When not conversing with the Warrior in their room, Ardbert wanders the First shadowing them, cursing his inability to interact with the world when he sees people being attacked by Sin Eaters. He silently weeps over his old Amaro friend, Seto, talking about how much they miss him.
Eventually Ardbert and the Warrior make contact and spark a reaction. However, they do not explore this further for now. When the Warrior is on the brink of corruption from the Light within them, standing before Emet-Selch, Ardbert comes to offer his help and merges his consciousness into the Warrior. With his consciousness joined, or perhaps "returned", to the Warrior of Light's, they are able to stand strong despite the corruption, and Emet-Selch sees them momentarily in Amaurotian robes, strongly hinting that the Warrior and Ardbert are, in fact, pieces of a former Ascian coming partly together. Despite the union, the Warrior of Light remains the dominant presence, and doesn't change outwardly regardless of differences with Ardbert.