Known also as 'Paragons', these malevolent black-robed figures sow the seeds of conflict across the lands of Eorzea.Official site description
Just as their faces are concealed by sinister masks, the true motives of the Ascians remain obscured behind veils of secrecy and terror.
The Ascians, also referred to as Paragons and Bringers of Chaos, are a mysterious cult of supernatural beings in Final Fantasy XIV who taught the beast races of Eorzea how to summon primals from the aether, which they consider as desire personified.
According to legends Ascians arrive in times of need to lead those in darkness to the light of the primals. In truth, they have hidden agendas revolving around their deity Zodiark. Ascians appear as masked men wearing black robes, or in some cases as a skeletal lich, but it is implied these forms are "crude approximations" by those who perceive them and their true forms are unknown. There are also Ascian Primes, fusion forms the Ascian Overlords use as a last resort in a fight.
- Travanchet (Pseudonym)
- Ascian of the Twelfth Pentacle
- Ascian of the Twelfth Sword
- Ascian of the Twelfth Staff
- Ascian of the Twelfth Chalice
Paragons of the SourceEdit
Ascians have a hierarchy with the Paragons of the Source being the most powerful. As with the case of Emet-Selch, whose real name is Hades, the Ascians are referred to by their title and rank rather than their actual name. They possess a power that came to be called the "Echo", though they possess the Echo at its full potential compared to those with fractured souls.
With the exception of Elidibus, an Ascian wears a black leather hooded robe with purple markings that bear silvery adornments, such as pauldrons, done in a spiky, symmetrical style. When they ready for combat, a red glyph appears over their face. Ascians use dark crystals to convert a person into a host body, using it to suit their ends. They wear masks to further hide their identities, the Ascian Overlords wearing red stylized masks while their subordinates bear black masks. One notable exception is Travanchet, who appears simply as an Elezen pirate, distinguished only by the lack of a shadow.
The skeletal Ascians have a different appearance, similar to contemporary representations of the grim reaper, with skeletal bodies and long habits with hoods that cover their heads and faces. Their legs are not visible, and they have skeletal bird-like wings. The Ascian Primes are similar to the bestial Ascians, but are larger with their faces being composed of two Ascian Overlords' masks combined.
When an Ascian dies, its soul ends up at the Aetherial Rift between Hydaelyn and the void where it reconstitutes and later acquires a new host body. Ascian Overlords can possess other living beings and return to the rift, shaping the body to reflect their ideal self. The process is more restricted with lesser Ascians who use the bodies of the deceased and cannot return to the rift if slain. Possessing new bodies considerably weakens an Ascian, but possessing the same body or a clone does not place the same strain on them. While white auracite can temporarily seal Ascians, pure aether can effectively destroy them. The method usually involves trapping an Ascian in white auracite and then shattering it with a blast of pure aether, or the Ascian's displaced essence can be absorbed by a primal.
In the reconstruction of Amaurot by Emet-Selch, Ascians appear as giant white-skinned humanoids that stood around 30 feet tall. While the true appearance of Ascians is currently unknown, each Ascian did possess distinguishing facial features, although they wore the same plain black robes and white masks to reinforce their people's sense of community over individuality.
Before Final Fantasy XIV Edit
In prehistory, the Ascians lived peacefully as an advanced, star-spanning civilization. Through their innate ability to use the "magic of Creation" they accomplished wondrous feats and 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 magic.
At some point, a mysterious "sound" emanating from the depths of their star caused the Ascians to lose control of their Creation magic, unleashing monsters formed from their subconscious fears. The Ascians struggled to contain the chaos brought about by their magic gone awry, and while some believed that the Convocation would find a solution, others gave in to dread and despair, further fueling the disaster.
The Convocation predicted that the inexorable spread of fear and chaos would consume their world in a great Calamity. To prevent this, the Convocation conceived of a plan to "weave the laws of reality anew" through the summoning of Zodiark, an entity powerful enough to alter the laws of their star and end the chaos that was consuming their world. To provide the immense amounts of aether needed to summon Zodiark, the ancient Ascians willingly sacrificed half their number in what would become the first Primal Summoning Ritual with the Ascian bearing the title of Elidibus offering themself as the core of Zodiark.
The Convocation was successful and, through Zodiark's power, the Calamity was averted. Despite the Ascians' efforts and sacrifice, much of their star had already been consumed by the Calamity and become a lifeless, blighted land. To heal their star, the Ascians sacrificed yet another half of their number to Zodiark. This second sacrifice brought new life to the world, but the beings born of Zodiark's power were not like the Ascians who came before: they did not possess the Ascians' longevity nor their innate ability to wield the mighty magics of Creation. Many Ascians (according to Emet-Selch) considered these new lifeforms to be inferior and unworthy of moral consideration.
Seeking to recreate their lost paradise, the Convocation sought to call upon Zodiark's power once more. They planned to harvest the life energies of the new lifeforms, feeding that power to Zodiark to restore the forms of the Ascians who had sacrificed themselves in the first Summoning, and whose souls were now sleeping inside of Zodiark. A faction of Ascians under Venat disapproved of Zodiark's presence and the Convocation's plan to harvest the new lifeforms. This led to a conflict among the Ascians with some of Venat's follower sacrificing themselves as Venat became the heart of Hydaelyn, an entity what would bind Zodiark and hold him in check. 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. Amaurot was destroyed along the remains of the Ascian civilization.
Three Convocation members escaped the sundering—the current Elidibus (Emissary), Lahabrea (Speaker) and Emet-Selch (Architect)—and resolved to orchestrate a series of events to revive Zodiark and restore their home via Rejoinings, cataclysms designed to gradually merge the Source and the thirteen shards back into one. Their intention is to resume sacrificing some of the rejoined current humanity to bring back their loved ones once the Rejoining is completed.
By imparting their knowledge of primal summoning, the Ascians posed as saviors to the races whose persecution they exploit. During the Third Astral Era, Emet-Selch established the Allagan Empire to set up the Fourth Umbral Calamity. The Ascians manipulated the grief-stricken Tiamat and the Meracydian dragons into reviving Bahamut as a primal and provided the Allagan emperor, Xande, the means to capture and bind primals. While the Allagans sealed Bahamut in Dalamud, the Warring Triad were imprisoned at Azys Lla to power Allag's aetherochemical research.
Emet-Selch later assumed the identity of Solus zos Galvus and established the Garlean Empire to suit his group's needs in setting up the Seventh Umbral calamity.
The Warrior of Light encountered two mysterious figures, called Emerick and Travanchet, linked to recent attacks by the Sahagin beast tribe. Travanchet, who wielded mighty powers and did not cast a shadow, stole a stone "key" from the Miqo'te sage Y'shtola Rhul before knocking the Warrior of Light unconscious and vanishing.
Minfilia Warde tasked the Warrior of Light with visiting an Amalj'aa excavation site in Gridania to negotiate with two of the beast tribes, the Amalj'aa and the Ixal, who were on the verge of summoning their respective primals. As the Warrior of Light stopped the tribes from going through with the ritual, a bestial Ascian appeared and frightened the tribes away.
The Sylphs, who were in the process of reopening crystal trade with the two tribes, mentioned the Ascians by their alternative name, "Paragon," saying they were the ones who taught the tribes to summon their primals. The Ascian overlord Lahabrea watched the unleashing of Bahamut during the Calamity.
The end of your tale is but the beginning of another. The tale of the Crystal's demise.Lahabrea in the "Crystal's Call" trailer
In the aftermath of the Seventh Umbral Era, the Ascians emerge from hiding, influencing local criminal groups across Eorzea, the beast tribes, and even the Garlean invasion force led by Gaius van Baelsar. Their leader is a masked mage named Lahabrea, whom the Warrior of Light encounters in a vision received from Hydaelyn's crystal: Lahabrea appears from a black void and attacks him/her just as the vision ends.
As the Warrior of Light embarks on the first missions in either Limsa Lominsa, Gridania or Ul'dah, a black-masked Ascian manipulates the events behind the scenes. When the Warrior of Light resolves the threat, he or she is confronted by an unknown Ascian in a black mask who covers the village in darkness and summons a gargoyle from the void to fight the Warrior of Light. The Warrior defeats both the gargoyle and the masked Ascian who vanishes to be replaced by a dark crystal, which shatters as the Warrior of Light approaches.
The influence of Ascians is uncovered with recurring sightings of "masked mages" throughout Eorzea. In addition to influencing beast tribes, they have a hand in other events, such as spurring the youth of Little Ala Mhigo in a scheme to summon Rhalgr, being behind the strange events at Haukke Manor, and making a deal with the dark summoner Tristan Nightflicker to obtain knowledge on primals.
Lahabrea possesses Thancred Waters and unveils the Ascians' intent to revive the dark deity Zodiark by using Gaius and the Ultima Weapon under his control. Though the Ultima Weapon is destroyed and Lahabrea is purged from Thancred's body by the Warrior of Light, Lahabrea regains physical form as he meets up with more primary members of the Ascians—three of them identified as Pashtarot, Igeyorhm, and Nabriales—to make preparations for Zodiark's resurrection.
Seventh Astral Era Edit
The wisdom of His plan shall become apparent in time, when the veil is lifted from their eyes...Elidibus
The Ascians become more active in their goal to revive their deity. Their Emissary, Elidibus, meets with Minfilia and knocks her out in self-defense when she refuses to let him leave. Two unnamed Ascians, who have noted that Hydaelyn has grown weaker despite the people of Eorzea having survived the "Rejoining" seven times by now, have been teaching the beast tribes to summon more powerful versions of their primals. The two observe the Warrior of Light fight the primals as his or her victory only serves to further the Ascians' plans. Elsewhere, Lahabrea and Elidibus appear at the side of Thordan VII, implying that the Ascians have been influencing the Archbishop of Ishgard. Emperor Solus (Emet-Selch) decides to pass away to return to the Source while aware of the civil war it would incite in Garlemald.
To combat the Ascians, the Scions of the Seventh Dawn (of which the Warrior of Light is a member) study a countermeasure. Moenbryda, having traveled to Eorzea from Sharlayan to help with Lady Iceheart, hypothesizes that aether can be used to destroy an Ascian's soul if enough is gathered into a "blade of light." Nabriales, having questioned Elidibus's actions and not wanting to wait for another "Rejoining" to naturally occur, decides to take advantage of the Warrior of Light losing Hydaelyn's blessing in the aftermath of encountering Midgardsormr. Nabriales attacks the Scions' now defenseless headquarters to obtain Louisoix Leveilleur's staff, but is killed when Moenbryda sacrifices her life to prove her theory.
The Ascians appear in Ishgard, with Lahabrea and Igeyorhm offering aid to Thordan VII in his mad quest to end the Dragonsong War as part of their plan to start the Eighth Rejoining. The two Ascians confront the Warrior of Light at the Aetherochemical Research Facility where they intend to kill him or her for interfering.
The Ascians find themselves overwhelmed and use the power of the Echo to combine into an Ascian Prime to gain the upper hand. The Ascian Prime is defeated, Lahabrea separating from Igeyorhm before she is destroyed by being sealed in white auracite and shattered by aether from the left eye of Nidhogg. Thordan appears, revealing he knew of the Ascians' agenda, and ends their alliance when he becomes the primal King Thordan and destroys Lahabrea's physical form before absorbing the Ascian's aether-based essence.
After King Thordan's defeat and Ishgard joining the Eorzean Alliance, Elidibus notes the imbalance caused by the Warrior of Light will keep them from their goal and decides to send the Warriors of Darkness on the beastmen as a countermeasure. Though the plan does not go smoothly, Elidibus obtains the eyes of Nidhogg and bestows them to the Ala Mhigan extremist known as the Griffin.
A minion of Lahabrea, the Ascian of the Twelfth Chalice, reanimates by the body of Tristan's brother and attacks many travelers in Thanalan. Once the undead summoner is slain, the Ascian reveals himself, frustrated at losing another pawn. He later attacks the Warrior of Light, Y'mhitra, and Dancing Wolf at the Carteneau Flats during an attempt to harness the Dreadwyrm's power to achieve a trance, but flees when the trance is achieved. Noting his sudden cowardice, Y'mhitra suspects lesser Ascians are unable to possess living beings and would perish if no available host is nearby. To test this, she tricks him and his associates into an ambush outside the Great Gubal Library in the Dravanian Hinterlands, knowing the place is too remote for them to find another host.
Ascian activity is sparse. Following the death of Zenos yae Galvus, Elidibus possesses the Garlean prince's corpse while forcing Emet-Selch to return in one of the many clone bodies of Emperor Solus that Varis zos Galvus (the current emperor) had created to clean up the mess Lahabrea left in his demise. Though Elidibus believes he can defeat the Warrior of Light with his dark magic combined with Zenos's physical prowess, he finds himself nearly outmatched when confronted with the Warrior's unexpected growth in power. Varis orders them to retreat to Garlemald when word begins to spread in the Empire of a demon masquerading as his son.
Gaius Baelsar, revealed to be alive and under the pseudonym of Shadowhunter, has been traveling with his companions, killing Ascians and collecting their masks to avenge his fallen allies.
The Warrior of Light and the Scions find a way to the First, one of the reflections of the original world. They learn of the Ascians' home—the ancient civilization of Amaurot; the origin story of both Hydaelyn and Zodiark, along with the origin of most of the creatures found across the Source and its thirteen reflections; and how the Ascians' attempt to bring about the Rejoining rendered The Thirteenth a "useless void." It is also hinted that the Warrior of Light is the reincarnation of an Ascian who was of some level of importance to Emet-Selch.
It is learned Emet-Selch and Loghrif were the cause for "The Flood of Light" that occurred in the First, having manipulated Ardbert and his companions (the Warriors of Darkness). While Minfilia stalled the Flood, Emet-Selch changed his approach in claiming the First by making the unborn Vauthry a Lightwarden.
During the Warrior of Light's stay in the First a copy of Amaurot is created in the ruins of the city, at the bottom of the ocean in the region known as "The Tempest." Once there, the Warrior of Light is sent through a history of the ancient civilization's final days before battling Emet-Selch under his true name: Hades. The Scions attempt to destroy him, but are stopped short. The Warrior of Light rejoins with Ardbert's soul (his/her counterpart in the First), allowing them to slay the elder Ascian once and for all.
Elidibus, forced to abandon Zenos's body upon sensing Emet-Selch's death, is the last Paragon and the number of his Ascian followers is being drastically reduced by Gaius and Estinien Wyrmblood. Elidibus travels to the First and possesses Ardbert's corpse in a scheme to awaken everyone's potential to use the Echo.
Musical themes Edit
Nearly all appearances of an Ascian in all versions are accompanied by "Without Shadow." Most boss fights against Ascian overlords use "Thunderer" as the battle theme, while "The Maker's Ruin" plays during the battle against Ascian Prime.
Etymology and allusionEdit
Ascian is a Latin word derived from ancient Greek: the word means "without shadow". This reflects their distinguishing trait and their musical theme.
A paragon is a person or thing regarded as a perfect example of a particular quality. The title is often used figuratively to denote a model of excellence or perfection.
The Ascians' overlords are named after the Scions of Light mentioned in Final Fantasy XII. This fits in with their Ophiuchus-themed deity and emissary, the former named after the Esper and the latter after the legendary wizard, in the Ivalice games.
The glyphs over the Ascians' faces in A Realm Reborn relate to the Espers from Final Fantasy XII. Lahabrea occasionally is seen with a symbol similar to the bottom of Mateus's glyph and the anonymous Ascian fought early in the story has a glyph resembling Belias's glyph.
The mask worn by Lahabrea and Elidibus resembles the kind of masks used in the Noh theater tradition in Japan, albeit only partially covering the face. The skeletal Ascians resemble the recurring lich, specifically the design seen in Final Fantasy Tactics.