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Black Tortoise Crystal concept art from Final Fantasy Type-0 Kōshiki Settei Shiryōshū Aku no Hishi.

The Black Tortoise- A rigid shield and a well guarded blade

Final Fantasy Type-0 Opening Narration

The Black Tortoise Crystal (玄武クリスタル, Genbu Kurisutaru?) is one of the four Crystals of Orience in Final Fantasy Type-0 and Final Fantasy Agito. It is held by the Lorican Alliance and bestows the power of the shield and sword. Like all Crystals of Orience, it can brand people to become its l'Cie and give them a Focus.

Through absorbing the effect of the Crystal into their flesh, the people of Lorica are much larger in stature compared to the citizens of other nations, bestowing them great strength and physical ability. Although they are a nation of warriors and fighters, not all of them engage in combat. The king of Lorica, a l'Cie himself, has an armory of weapons created with the Crystal's power for his personal use.


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

The foundations of the Lorican Alliance were already in place when an industrious young Lorican named Urshanabi discovered the Black Tortoise Crystal buried within the sinkhole upon whose precipice Loricans had settled, some 28 years after the discovery of the Vermilion Bird Crystal. The boy became the Crystal's protector as its l'Cie, and the Black Peristylium—dedicated to the cultivation of Agito like that of the Vermilion Peristylium—arose shortly thereafter. It is said that the warriors of Lorica, renowned for their might and temper, receive the blessings of the Crystal through the anointment of Urshanabi.

The Black Peristylium.

Under the Crystal's watchful eye, the nation grew industrious and flourished in trade and economic diplomacy. The Militesi Empire, the home of the White Tiger Crystal, developed the Crystal Engine in 214 for use of mechanized warfare. Four years later, Milites made inroads to Berith and engaged the Lorican paladins, suffering casualties in close range combat. The advent of mechanization in warfare changed combat forever, and the imperial cannons mounted on suits of armor tore the Lorican lines to shreds from afar. Imperial forces penetrated the Lorican heartland before the Black Tortoise l'Cie stifled their advance and brought about an armistice.

The alliance poured its efforts into combating the Crystal-powered imperial weapons and to fortify itself against potential future invasions. To this end, Lorican scholars devised a means of imbuing arms and armor with the Black Tortoise Crystal's energy. The Arms of Agito could fell the formerly invincible imperial war machines, but the Crystal alone did not suffice to supply the nation's needs. Under the guidance of the Black Tortoise l'Cie, the alliance distilled shards from the energy emanating from the Crystal. As production for the Arms of Agito became powered by these shards, the Lorican knights became clad in the superlative equipment. After Milites developed the magitek armor, however, the Lorican edge was lost.

In 339 the Dominion of Rubrum, the home to the Vermilion Bird Crystal, that had not previously threatened the alliance, deployed an Eidolon on Lorica, which defeated a Black Tortoise l'Cie. Eidolons can only be summoned for a time, and the dominion sacrificed too many lives to call it forth to make headway into a proper invasion.

Not long after its third war with Milites, Lorica realized its Crystal arms only put it on equal footing with the empire. Unless the alliance gained the upper hand, it was only a matter of time it would be annexed. As most wars ended due to the intervention of l'Cie, Lorican craftsmen sought to develop weapons to combat them, and in 348 the alliance created two armaments capable of utilizing the Black Tortoise Crystal's power: the King's Sword and the King's Armor. Although either instrument was yet to be tested against a l'Cie in combat, they were superior to any the alliance had seen before, and the craftsmen set out to mass-produce them. Creating these weapons consumed copious energy and the Black Tortoise Crystal's power began to weaken. The Lorican King halted production and the Crystal regained its power, but fearing that producing more arms would cause further deterioration, the King forbade the creation of any more such equipment.

Steeled and strengthened through centuries of war, each Crystal-State had developed formidable fighting forces convincing each head-of-state of the possibility of unifying Orience under one banner. The waning of the Crystals' power drove the four state leaders to expedite their war efforts, even if extracting energy from the Crystals exacerbated their deterioration. Fearing the weakening of the Crystals to be permanent, each nation sought to annihilate the others.

What became known as the Great Orience War began as a border dispute between the dominion and the empire, prompting Lorica to deploy its troops against the empire. As Milites advanced into the Iscah Region the king and the Black Paladins left Jubanla Region for Iscah to see how the King's Sword and Armor would fare. They were met by the Vermilion Bird l'Cie Kiyosaki who engaged the Lorican King, and the two died impaled on each other's blades.

As the struggle continued, each nation's Crystal began deteriorating even more rapidly due to the replenishment the weapons, armor, and magic and through the creation of l'Cie. As the power of all four Crystals was waning, on Ventusmens IV in the year 359, the four nations ordered a ceasefire and began preparations for a peace treaty.

When the empire attacks the Lorican Alliance, it detonates its ultimate weapon, the Ultima Bomb, on the Black Peristylium, obliterating it. News spread that some of the Black Tortoise l'Cie were turned to Cie'th for failing to protect the Crystal. The king of Lorica, Gilgamesh Ashur, is said to have perished in the attack from Milites, but in truth, he wanders Orience having lost the sight of his Focus. The imperial army dispatches several units to the ruins of the Lorican Alliance to seize the Black Tortoise Crystal. Believing the entire population annihilated, Imperial Central Command anticipated a bloodless occupation. Yet, the empire was met with a small group of surviving paladins who put forth a valiant effort before ultimately falling to the imperial forces. The remaining survivors are reported executed, but in truth some end up in Militesi hands as test subjects, such as Supersoldier Akkad.

The empire recovers the Crystal.

It is unknown what happens to the Crystal after it fell into imperial hands, but when Tiz reports to Arecia Al-Rashia after Class Zero has perished, she describes it as "lost in desolation". Some theorize the empire wants to siphon power from the Crystal because the light of the empire's own White Tiger Crystal is waning, but others doubt this being the true reason behind the imperial aggression, as they keep on their objective even after having obtained the Black Tortoise Crystal.

Unlike the l'Cie of other nations, the l'Cie of the Black Tortoise Crystal do not appear to have traveled to Pandæmonium during Tempus Finis. A Cie'th-type Gilgamesh appears in one of the rooms in Pandæmonium, so the Black Tortoise l'Cie may have traveled to Pandæmonium in previous spirals.


Spoilers end here.

Etymology and symbolism[]

The Black Tortoise or Black Turtle is one of the Four Symbols of the Chinese constellations. Despite its English name, it is usually depicted as a turtle entwined together with a snake. According to Wu Xing, the Taoist five-elemental system, it represents the water-element, the direction north, and the winter season. Thus it is sometimes called the Black Tortoise of the North. It is known as Xuan Wu in Chinese, Hyeonmu in Korean, Genbu in Japanese, and Huyền Vũ in Vietnamese.

The four Crystals of Orience allude to the elemental crystals from the early Final Fantasy games. This continues the theme of the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy series where core elements of the Final Fantasy series are re-imagined. In the early Final Fantasy games being made a Warrior of Light by a crystal was shown in heroic light, but in the Fabula Nova Crystallis series the equivalent fate of a l'Cie reflects a more sinister state, calling the person's free will into question. Black Tortoise Crystal represents the Water Crystal.