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.

Official site description

[1]

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.

Profile

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)

Lahabrea, Elidibus, and Emet-Selch with Zodiark in the background.

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 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, wearing 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 an Ascian, 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, Ancients appear as giant white-skinned humanoids that stood around 30 feet tall. While the true appearance of Ancients is currently unknown, each Ancient 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.

Members

Paragons of the Source

Ascian Overlords

Minor Ascians

  • Travanchet (Pseudonym)
  • Ascian of the Twelfth Pentacle
  • Ascian of the Twelfth Sword
  • Ascian of the Twelfth Staff
  • Ascian of the Twelfth Chalice
  • Masked Mage

Ancients

  • Venat - Leader of the Amaurotines who were concerned over Zodiark
  • Hythlodaeus - Chief of the Bureau of the Architect and friend to the current Emet-Selch
  • Azem - Former Fourteenth member of the Convocation. Vacated their position prior to the Final Days reaching Amaurot for currently unknown reasons.

Story

Before Final Fantasy XIV

An Ancient, as they appeared before the Sundering.

In prehistory, a single race, known as the Ancients, inhabited all corners of the Star. Through their innate ability to use "creation magic" 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 Ancients to lose control of their creation magic, unleashing monsters formed from their subconscious fears. The Ancients 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. 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. 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, half of the surviving Ancients willingly sacrificed themselves in what would become the first Primal Summoning Ritual with the Ancient bearing the title of Elidibus offering themself as the core of Zodiark. The Convocation was successful, and through Zodiark's power, the Final Days were averted. Despite the Ancients' 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 Ancients sacrificed yet another half of their number to Zodiark. This second sacrifice brought new life to the world, and restored the cycle of nature.

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 once enough time had passed for them to mature, feeding that power to Zodiark to restore the forms of the Ancients who had sacrificed themselves in the first summonings, and whose souls were now sleeping inside of Zodiark. A faction of Ancients under Venat disapproved of Zodiark's presence and the Convocation's plan to harvest the new lifeforms. This led to a conflict among the Ancients, the first major one in living memory, with some of Venat's follower sacrificing themselves in their own summoning to create Hydaelyn, an entity what would bind Zodiark and hold him in check, with Venat becoming her heart. 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 Ancients' civilization, while those still living had their souls similarly split into fourteen pieces across the fragmented worlds.

Three Convocation members escaped the Sundering—the current Elidibus (Emissary), Lahabrea (Speaker) and Emet-Selch—and, after seeing the state of their world, 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 one. Their intention is to resume sacrificing some of the rejoined current humanity to bring back their loved ones once the Rejoining is completed. They reformed themselves as the Ascians, and began searching for the fragmented souls of their fellow Convocation members to bring them into the fold.

By imparting their knowledge of creation magic, specifically the arts first used to bring Zodiark and Hydaelyn into being, the Ascians posed as saviors to the races whose persecution they exploit, allowing them to summon their 'gods' to grant them succor. On the Thirteenth Shard, Igeyorhm manipulated the heroes who fought against these 'primals' into utilising auracite to trap them and prevent their resummoning. The heroes, corrupted by the leaking aether, turned on each other and the people they were meant to protect, becoming aether-starved and eventually waging great wars against each other. This subsequently caused the unleashing of a Flood of Darkness that all but decimated the shard and transformed the survivors into voidsent, rendering the world unfit for Rejoining. The Ascians then discovered a link between the aether of the Shards and the Source, and theorized that a simultaneous disaster on the Source and Shard of the same elemental aspect would allow for them to be rejoined, a theory subsequently proven in the first umbral calamity.

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 brethren's needs in setting up the Seventh Umbral Calamity.

Final Fantasy XIV legacy

Travanchet

The adventurer 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 adventurer 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 adventurer 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 later watched the unleashing of Bahamut during the Calamity.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

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[2]

Lahabrea

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

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.

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

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.

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood

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.

Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers

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 Baelsar 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.

During a journey into the Anamnesis Anyder deep beneath Emet-Selch's vision of the past, the Warrior of Light and the Scions of the Seventh Dawn discover concept containers that display images of the past. In these visions, Amaurotines seek to avert the dominion of Zodiark by summoning Hydaelyn to "be his shackles." They briefly discuss their attempt of reaching out to the defector of the Convocation, albeit without any success. Their leader, Venat, volunteers to take their place as Her Heart, just as Elidibus became Zodiark's Heart.

Spoilers end here.

Musical themes

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.

Gallery

Etymology and allusion

Ascian 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.

References

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.