Known also as 'Paragons', these malevolent black-robed figures sow the seeds of conflict across the lands of Eorzea.
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.
Legends say that Ascians arrive in times of need to lead those in darkness to the light of the primals, but 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
Likely members Edit
As Gaius van Baelsar reveals to the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, the 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.
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. According to Emet-Selch, possessing new bodies considerably weakens an Ascian, though 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 time of Amaurot, Ascians were giant white-skinned humanoids that stood around 30 feet tall. Their features were unknown, as 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 in the kingdom of Amaurot. As the peace was in danger of coming to an end with an impending Calamity, the Ascians unconsciously created monstrous creatures based on their fears. The Ascians prayed for salvation, the Congregation of Fourteen leadership sacrificing half of their people to summon the primal Zodiark. While the Calamity was averted, a faction of Ascians disapproved of Zodiark's presence and the Congregation intending to sacrifice the new people born from Zodiark spreading sparks of life again, to the primal in return for those who were previously sacrificed. This led to a conflict among the Ascians and those who opposed Zodiark sacrificed themselves to summon Hydaelyn. The two primals fought until Hydaelyn delivered the decisive blow that shattered the world into thirteen reflections and the Source while Amaurot was destroyed.
Three Congregation members escaped the sundering 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. Emet-Selch reveals their intention 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.
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 intend 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...
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. Solus 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 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 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 Solus that Varis zos Galvus (now 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 allies, 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, by a self-aware Amaurotine Citizen.
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. While Minfilia stalled the flood, Emet-Selch decides to take another 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.
A furious Elidibus vows revenge. He is now the last Paragon and the number of his Ascian followers is being drastically reduced by Gaius and Estinien.
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.
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 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.
- Should the player complete the Heavensward main scenario first and the Level 60 Summoner Quest second, the dialogue will change, showing that the Ascians of the Twelfth know of their master's fate before battling and after being defeated by the Warrior of Light.
- The Ascians can be talkative, Emperor Varis commenting that they are overfond of their own voices.