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
The Ascians, also referred to as Paragons and Bringers of Chaos, are a mysterious cult in Final Fantasy XIV who taught the beast races of Eorzea how to summon primals from the aether. According to legend, 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. As of A Realm Reborn, they generally appear wearing masks and black robes and are known to possess people to further their goals.
- 1 Profile
- 2 Members
- 3 Story
- 4 Musical themes
- 5 Gallery
- 6 Etymology and allusion
- 7 References
Profile[edit | edit source]
Ascians are the remnants of an ancient race of beings who lived on the planet before it was shattered into thirteen parallel dimensions in an event known as the Sundering. This disaster, caused by the battle between Hydaelyn and Zodiark, also divided the souls of all living beings on these shattered reflections. Only three Ascians, known as the unsundered, survived with their souls intact. They labor to reunite the dimensions to revive Zodiark and restore their lost civilization. This "Rejoining" process involves the ultimate destruction of these parallel reflections and all life therein. To aid in this task, the unsundered raise individual fragments of the souls of their ancient colleagues into Ascians.
The unsundered—Lahabrea, Emet-Selch, and Elidibus—are the most powerful Ascians with the power to recruit others into their group. Under them are Ascian Overlords, whose souls belonged to the remaining sundered members of the Convocation of Fourteen (the group that summoned Zodiark). Members of the Convocation are referred to by their title rather than their true names. (These titles are based on the names of the Scions of Light from Ivalice.) Lesser Ascians are the weakest and generally unnamed, referred to only by their rank.
Ascians are immortal aetherial beings as a result of their mastery over a power known as the "Echo", which allows their souls to maintain their individuality within the Lifestream instead of dissipating. This lets them travel freely through the Aetherial Rift to other dimensions and allows them to possess mortal bodies to directly interact with the physical world. Ascian Overlords can possess living beings, shaping the body to suit their needs, whereas lesser Ascians must 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 appear to place the same strain on them. Ascian Overlords are notoriously difficult to destroy, as their souls can escape to the Rift if their mortal body is killed. Materials that absorb aether, such as white auracite, can temporarily trap an Ascian in the mortal plane and a potent enough blast of pure aether can effectively destroy them.
With the exception of Elidibus who wears white, Ascians are generally depicted as wearing black hooded robes with purple markings and silver adornments, such as pauldrons. When they ready for combat, red glyphs appear over their faces. Ascians use dark crystals to convert people into host bodies, using them to suit their ends. Ascian Overlords wear red stylized masks while their subordinates wear black masks. Ascians can also appear in a skeletal form, similar to contemporary representations of the grim reaper, wearing long habits with hoods that cover their heads and faces. In this form, their legs are not visible and they have skeletal bird-like wings. "Ascian Prime" is a form similar to the skeletal Ascians, but larger and wearing a mask composed of the two Ascian Overlords that combined to form the Prime. In all forms, they lack a shadow.
In Emet-Selch's reconstruction of Amaurot, Ancients appear as giant humanoids with elongated body proportions. While the true appearance of Ancients is currently unknown, each Ancient possesses distinguishing facial features, although they wear the same plain black robes and white masks to reinforce their people's sense of community over individuality.
Members[edit | edit source]
The Unsundered[edit | edit source]
Ascian Overlords[edit | edit source]
Minor Ascians[edit | edit source]
- 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[edit | edit source]
- Venat - Leader of the Amaurotines who were concerned over the repeated sacrifices to Zodiark.
- Hythlodaeus - Chief of the Bureau of the Architect and friend to the current Emet-Selch and Azem. Friendly and also a bit of a joker, according to the Tales from the Shadows story "Through His Eyes".
- Azem - The forgotten Fourteenth member of the Convocation. They opposed the plan to summon Zodiark and subsequently vacated their position prior to the Final Days reaching Amaurot. Azem was friend to both Emet-Selch and Hythlodaeus, and it is heavily implied that the Warrior of Light is the current Source incarnation of Azem. If asked, Urianger also speculates that they may have been the source of the legends attributed to Azeyma and the Dawn Father, Azim, due to a connection to light and the sun.
Story[edit | edit source]
Before Final Fantasy XIV[edit | edit source]
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.
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. 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. The Ancient with the title of Azem refused to participate and left the Convocation who sacrificed half of the Ancients' population for the amount of aether needed to summon Zodiark, with the Ancient bearing the title of Elidibus offering himself as Zodiark's core. Though the summoning averted the Final Days, 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. A faction of Ancients under Venat disapproved of Zodiark's presence and opposed the Convocation's plans to sacrifice the new life forms, resulting in the race's first inner conflict. Elidibus sensed the conflict unfolding and separated himself from Zodiark to aid the Convocation as a primal in a failed attempt to restore order. Some of Venat's followers sacrificed themselves 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 the souls of the living similarly split into fourteen pieces across the fragmented worlds.
Elidibus and two other Convocation members, Lahabrea and Emet-Selch, escaped the Sundering. The three 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. They intend to resume sacrificing some of the rejoined current humanity to bring back their loved ones once the Rejoining is complete. 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 the beast tribes to summon their "gods" to grant them succor. Elidibus and Emet-Selch also contribute across the Source and its Shards as part of their plan, the latter nurturing civilizations while the former began the Warrior of Light legend.
Originally, each Ascian is entrusted to personally oversee a shard. That changed following events caused by Igeyorhm manipulating the heroes of the Thirteenth Shard into using auracite to contain primals and prevent their resummoning. The heroes, corrupted by the leaking aether, turned on each other and the people they were meant to protect, the conflicts escalating into great wars. This unleashed a Flood of Darkness that decimated the Thirteenth Shard and transformed the survivors into voidsent, rendering the world unfit for Rejoining. The Ascians 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 rejoin, a theory subsequently proven in the first Umbral Calamity. Since then, Ascians have worked in groups to oversee the process.
During the Third Astral Era, Emet-Selch established the Allagan Empire on the Source 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.
Final Fantasy XIV legacy[edit | edit source]
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 adventurer 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.
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. Lahabrea oversees their actions, whom the Warrior of Light encounters in a vision received from Hydaelyn's crystal. 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. The Warrior resolves the threat with black-masked Ascian retaliating by encasing the village in darkness and summoning a gargoyle from the void. The Warrior defeats both the gargoyle and the masked Ascian, who vanishes to be replaced by a dark crystal that shatters as the Warrior approaches it.
The Ascians' influence 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, orchestrating 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. The Ultima Weapon is destroyed and the Warrior of Light purges Lahabrea from Thancred's body. He 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.
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, Elidibus deciding to appear before the Warrior to see if they and the Scions of the Seventh Dawn could be useful. He ends up knocking out Minfilia in self-defense when she refuses to let him leave, later joining Lahabrea as they have formed an alliance with Thordan VII of Ishgard. 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. Emperor Solus (Emet-Selch) decides to pass away to return to the Source while aware of the civil war it would incite in Garlemald.
The Scions study a countermeasure to combat the Ascians. 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 refusing 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 destroyed 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 of causing an eighth "Rejoining" as the the First shard has almost been consumed in "the Flood of Light" at the cost of losing Loghrif and Mitron. Elidibus manipulates Ardbert and his companions to travel to the Source and serve as his Warriors of Darkness to get the plan back on track. 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 can't 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 Zenos yae Galvus's death, Elidibus possesses the Garlean prince's corpse while forcing Emet-Selch to return in one of the many clone bodies of Emperor Solus that his heir Varis zos Galvus 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 him 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 that has been taken over by the Flood of Light. It is learned Emet-Selch and Loghrif were the cause for "the Flood", having manipulated Ardbert and his companions. While Minfilia stalled the Flood, Emet-Selch changed his approach in claiming the First by making the unborn Vauthry a Lightwarden.
The Warriors and the Scions 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 hinted that the Warrior of Light is the reincarnation of an Ascian who was of some level of importance to Emet-Selch. 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 are outmatched until Ardbert merges his soul with the Warrior's to cease the Lightwardens' corruption and slay the elder Ascian once and for all. The Warrior of Light and Ardbert are hinted to be two fragments of Azem whom Emet-Selch considered a friend. The defeated Paragon accepts his death while requesting the Warrior to remember their people.
Elidibus, forced to abandon Zenos's body upon sensing Emet-Selch's death, is the last unsundered 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 and use their faith to strengthen him. During a journey into the Anamnesis Anyder, deep beneath Emet-Selch's vision of the past, the Warrior of Light and the Scions discover concept containers that display images of the past. They observe the memories of Venat's faction and learn of Elidibus's true nature as Zodiark's disembodied heart. Though Elidibus summons spectral Warriors of Light he falls in battle and is sealed within the Crystal Tower. At the same time, the Warrior helps Ryne restore the Empty through the sin eater Eden. They are joined by an amnesiac named Gaia who they later learn is Loghrif reincarnated. Eden, meanwhile, is Mitron, whose death marks an apparent end to the Ascians' actions on the First.
Despite Elidibus being no more and the means of siring new members being lost, the remaining Ascians attempt to continue his work. The Scions use their experience from the First to begin administering cures for the tempered and end the practice of primal summoning. Meanwhile, the rogue Ascian Fandaniel considers his leaders' deaths as just cause to act on his own agenda, and aims to completely destroy the Source rather than restore it. It is currently unclear if Elidibus's demise weakened the remaining Ascians' enthrallment to Zodiark, facilitating more independent action.
Musical themes[edit | edit source]
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[edit | edit source]
Etymology and allusion[edit | edit source]
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. Those Ascians whose true names have been revealed (Hades, Artemis, Gaia) are named after deities from ancient Greek mythology.
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.