A noble warrior of a foreign land. A faithful retainer to his lord and master, he fears not even death...
Cyan is deeply devoted to his kingdom and his family, wife Elayne and son Owain. Despite Cyan fighting fiercely against the Gestahlian Empire in the Third Gestahlian Campaign, Doma is destroyed by a threat he could not possibly defend them from—the castle's water supply is poisoned by Kefka, killing everyone but Cyan. Cyan's guilt and grief over the loss of his homeland and his family is at the core of his character exploration through Final Fantasy VI.
Cyan is a middle-aged man with dark hair tied into a ponytail and a trimmed mustache. He wears blue and black armor with a chestpiece and shoulderpads, bracers, and boots. His clothing is blue or black in different concept arts, but his chestpiece and shoulderpads are universally brown or bronze. He has a blue cape in concept art that is retained in most of his appearances in spin-off titles, but he does not wear one in Final Fantasy VI.
As a samurai, Cyan's weapon of choice is the katana, which he wields in concept art and in all of his spin-off appearances. He does not have a single recurring weapon design, but his weaponry conforms to the typical stylings of katana. His ultimate weapon in Final Fantasy VI, obtained in the Dragons' Den, is the Zanmato.
Cyan has a distinguishable pseudo-Early Modern English manner of speech, using archaic expressions such as "thou", "dost", "thy", and referring to males with the title "Sir". In the original Japanese he speaks in a characteristic "samurai" manner, using the pronoun sessha and ending sentences with de gozaru, a rough or uncultured way of saying de gozaimasu that is used by samurai in film or television to denote masculinity and ruthlessness. These speech patterns cause Gau, confused over the meaning of the word, to nickname Sabin "Mr. Thou" ("Gozaru" in the Japanese versions). Cyan writes the same way he speaks, and when reading a letter from him in the World of Ruin, the party instantly recognizes his style. His use of these words in the English versions is toned down in the Game Boy Advance script compared to the Super NES script, in favor of his speech patterns being formal and antiquated in general.
The loss of Doma haunts Cyan for his failure to defend his homeland and avenge his people's deaths. He becomes depressed and sullen whenever Doma is brought up and struggles to speak of it. Cyan's guilt is so great that when he revisits Doma Castle in the World of Ruin, beings called Wrexsoul and the Dream Stooges attack him, feeding off his negative emotions over the loss of Doma. Through the dream it is espoused by Cyan and others that he feels powerless to stop Kefka and has lost his honor. However, with the destruction of Wrexsoul and seeing his family one more time, Cyan resolves to not let his past torment him anymore.
Cyan is respectful in conversation and helpful and personable to his allies. Cyan is technophobic and struggles operating and understanding machines. He makes strides to overcome this fear, and in the World of Ruin secretly hordes a small collection of books on simple machinery. When he rejoins the party Cyan stations himself in the Falcon's engine room and comments it is "an interesting apparatus". He is guarded with his emotions; when Elayne asked if he loved her, Cyan was surprised and exclaimed "a warrior does not speak of such things!", and took a moment to compose himself before professing his love for her.
Cyan is a master of Bushido, the art of swordplay. His gameplay in spin-off titles often prominently features his Bushido commands from Final Fantasy VI, and more generally focuses on Cyan attacking enemies repeatedly with his katana. Beyond this his gameplay varies depending on the specific spin-off; for instance, Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia gives him a theme of debuffing enemies with "Bushido: Fang" and healing himself with "Bushido: Dragon", while Final Fantasy Record Keeper focuses on him boosting his critical hit rate and damage and giving himself the Retaliate status to dodge and counter attacks. Cyan also often has abilities more general to the Samurai job class, such as Blade Bash and Iainuki.
I am Cyan, retainer to the king of Doma. Ready thy axe!
Cyan, to the Captain
During the Third Gestahlian Campaign, the Gestahlian Empire lay siege to Doma Castle. The soldiers of Doma were prepared to surrender, but Cyan convinced them not to give up and suggested the strategy of slaying the Imperial commander to make the rank-and-file soldiers flee. Cyan entered the battlefield and defeated the Imperial Captain overseeing the attack. The other Imperial troopers panicked and retreated, and Cyan ordered the Doma defenders to withdraw and they would outlast the Imperials.
At the Imperial Camp, General Leo, the Imperial overseeing the siege, was recalled by Emperor Gestahl. In his absence, Kefka took command of the camp and poisoned Doma's water supply. As Cyan and a Doma sentry noticed the flurry of activity in the camp, the sentries around the castle dropped dead on the spot, and Cyan realized what had happened. He ran to the throne room just as the King of Doma was gasping his final breaths, and then went to check on his family and found them already dead. Speechless with horror and grief, Cyan grew enraged and stormed the Imperial camp.
As Cyan engaged the Imperials, Sabin and Shadow saw him and rushed to his defense. Though Cyan did not know them, he welcomed the aid. Sabin formally introduced himself during a break in the fighting and convinced Cyan to flee the camp. With the Imperial regrouping, the three hijacked suits of Magitek armor and fought their way out. Sabin told Cyan they were heading to Narshe and Cyan advised the only way there was through the woods to the south—the Phantom Forest.
In the woods the group found a train platform with a train waiting, confusing Cyan as he thought the Empire had destroyed Doma's rail systems. Sabin suggested checking the cars for survivors, but Cyan suspected what the train was and tried to stop him to no avail. As the group entered the train, the door locked and the engine sounded its whistle and departed. Cyan explained that this was the Phantom Train, a supernatural locomotive that ferries the souls of the recently dead to the afterlife. While Cyan was resigned to his fate, Sabin was less accepting and the group agreed to make for the engine and shut the train down.
After defeating the sapient engine, it agreed to let them go at its next stop. As it pulled up to the platform, Cyan, Sabin and Shadow jumped off, eager to escape. The train took on new passengers: the victims of the poisoning of Doma. Cyan spotted his wife and son among them, and called to them, but the train was already departing. As Cyan ran along the platform, Elayne and Owain came to say their goodbyes. The train pulled away into the woods, leaving Cyan on the platform watching his family leave.
When the group reached Baren Falls Cyan suggested leaping off the falls to escape the Empire so they could cross the Veldt and find aid in Mobliz. Shadow left the two and they leapt together, washing up on a river that ran along the Veldt. A wild child named Gau found them, but ran off when they woke up. At Mobliz the two learned of an Imperial deserter that was badly wounded and recovering in the village. The soldier received letters from his girlfriend Lola in Maranda, but was too weak to read them or write her back. Cyan and Sabin read him some of her letters and sent replies on his behalf.
The two learned in Mobliz that Gau had a taste for dried meat and purchased some, then tossed it to Gau when they found him on the plains. The treat earned Gau's trust and as they made introductions, he became obsessed with Cyan's accent and gave Sabin the nickname "Mr. Thou". Gau offered to give the two a "shiny treasure" in thanks for the food, and led them to the Crescent Mountain Cave. Gau's treasure turned out to be a diving helmet, and the three used it to swim through the Serpent Trench to reach Nikeah.
In Nikeah Cyan caught the eye of a dancer at the pub who made salacious comments at him. Cyan was flustered and enraged by her attentions and lectured her on how a "proper" woman should act, and the rant convinced her to leave him alone. The group boarded a ferry to South Figaro and snuck through town to reach Narshe.
At Narshe Sabin introduced his allies to his brother, Edgar, and the leader of the Returners, Banon. Cyan told them about the fate of Doma and Banon used this as evidence to try and convince the Elder of Narshe to ally with the Returners for protection. Another of Sabin's friends, Locke, arrived at the meeting with warning that the Empire was going to invade Narshe. He had learned this from his companion, a traitor Imperial general named Celes. At her name Cyan grew enraged and prepared to attack her, knowing her by reputation as the general who was responsible for the decimation of Maranda. Locke defended her, and another member of the group, Terra, admitted she was also a former Imperial, surprising Cyan; Edgar reminded him that while the Empire was evil, not all of its soldiers were.
A city guard reported Kefka and his forces were approaching and the Returners and their allies mobilized to defend the town. Cyan was still distrustful of Celes, and she advised him to judge her with his own eyes in the coming battle. The Battle for the Frozen Esper ended with a Returner victory and Kefka retreated. In the aftermath, Terra approached a frozen esper that had been dug up in Narshe, and she reacted to the creature and transformed into an esper herself, flying away. In spite of her past as an Imperial, Cyan agreed with the others that they had to find her.
Cyan continued to aid the Returners as they battled the Empire. After a force of espers emerged from the gate to the esper world, they devastated the Imperial capital Vector. Emperor Gestahl called a truce and asked the group to aid him in finding the espers and getting them to agree to peace talks. Terra and Locke accompanied the Imperial expedition and the others remained behind, Cyan keeping a close eye on the prison cells where Kefka had been locked up for the poisoning of Doma. The truce turned out to be a ruse to lure the espers to Thamasa so Kefka could kill them and seize their magicite for Gestahl. The Returners escaped the Empire on their airship, the Blackjack, and met up with Terra and Locke in Thamasa, where Cyan was saddened to learn that Kefka had killed General Leo.
Kefka and Gestahl invaded the esper world and discovered the Warring Triad, the gods of magic, and used their power to raise the Floating Continent. When the Returners confronted them, Kefka killed Gestahl and seized the power of the Triad for himself. Kefka moved the Triad out of their careful alignment, causing a world-wide cataclysm as their powers were unleashed. In the chaos the Blackjack was destroyed and the party scattered across the world.
While traveling the remains of the world, Cyan remembered the wounded soldier in Mobliz and his girlfriend in Maranda, and wondered what had become of her. Cyan visited Maranda and learned that Lola had stopped receiving replies from her boyfriend and did not know his fate, but still sent a letter to him every day. Cyan was moved by her devotion and could not stand by and do nothing about it. He began to impersonate the soldier and wrote letters back to her, telling her that he was recovered and working to rebuild Mobliz. Cyan took up residence in Mt. Zozo and not only sent Lola letters, but also wove silk flowers that he enclosed with them.
When the Returners passed through Maranda, they learned of Lola's "boyfriend" and were confused, as they had been to Mobliz and knew it had been destroyed by Kefka. They read one of the letters Lola had received and recognized Cyan's handwriting. Lola asked them to attach her reply to the carrier pigeon, and the Returners did and followed the bird to Zozo. They made their way through Mt. Zozo and found Cyan living there in a cave full of silken flowers, and a final letter confessing his deception to Lola and encouraging her to not be trapped in the past and learn to love again.
Cyan was joyous to see his friends alive and well, but panicked when he realized how they must have found him. He hurried into his cave and began packing up his belongings, and when the group entered he tried to explain them as "a minor diversion". The group complimented his craftsmanship, flustering Cyan, but they laughed it off. Cyan explained how he had learned of Lola's state and through writing the letters, realized he was the same as her, refusing to let go of the past. Cyan rejoined the party and informed them he had also met Gau in Maranda and believed he had returned to the Veldt.
A time later, the party visited Doma Castle and rested in its barracks. While he slept, Cyan was attacked by the Dream Stooges, who sought to feed on his soul. The party entered a Dreamscape world within Cyan's soul and defeated the stooges, but the dream continued. After fighting their way through the varied landscapes of the dream, they found themselves back in Doma Castle, where the spirits of Elayne and Owain appeared to them. The two explained that a being called Wrexsoul, a congregate of souls dispatched in an ancient war, had latched onto Cyan due to his self-torment over Doma and was feeding on his pain. The party agreed to destroy Wrexsoul and free Cyan.
In the throne room the party confronted Wrexsoul and an imprisoned Cyan, and defeated the spirit. Cyan regained his senses and thanked them, and spoke of hearing his family's voices encouraging him to live. Elayne and Owain manifested and cheered for Cyan, but he rejected their praise, still guilty for Doma. The two reassured him he was still honorable and departed again, but left behind a sword for him, telling him they would always be by his side. Cyan took hold of the sword as the dream ended, and in the real world he committed himself to letting go of his pain and keeping the memory of his family in his heart. Cyan let go of his confusion and doubt, allowing his swordsmanship to reach its peak level.
After Kefka had been felled and his tower was collapsing, Cyan and Edgar were escaping when a stairwell collapsed, leaving Edgar hanging from a doorframe. Edgar called to Cyan to reactivate the stairs via a switch, which Cyan grumbled about as his distaste for machines welled up. After some posturing and hesitation, Cyan leapt on the switch with gusto and the stairs extended to save Edgar, and Cyan laughed at his own "skill" handling mechanical matters.
Cyan is a Samurai. His special ability is Bushido, which can have different effects on enemies depending on how long it is charged up. His stats heavily lean towards physical stats, with high Strength and Defense but low Speed and Magic. He equips katanas (and the Zantetsuken), heavy armor and helmets, and all shields. His Desperation Attack is Tsubame Gaeshi that deals magical damage to one enemy.
During a brief period in the Imperial Camp, Cyan fights as an AI-controlled ally. He has a 1/3 chance to use Fang, otherwise he will perform a normal attack, and he he a 1/3 chance to counter any attack.
Cyan's theme is reminiscent of the samurai of old, and is the background music for Doma Castle.
Cyan's leitmotif is the first character theme reprised in the "Ending Theme". Indirectly, his theme is reprised in the ending theme of Dissidia Final Fantasy that comprises of the ending themes of the first ten Final Fantasy games, and because Cyan's leitmotif is played first in the "Ending Theme", his segment is picked to represent Final Fantasy VI.
Cyan has made appearances in the following games in the Final Fantasy series:
- Final Fantasy XIV as Kaien, the former lord of Doma and the father of the heir, Hien.
- Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy as a cameo.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia as a playable character.
- Pictlogica Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade as a summonable Legend.
- Final Fantasy Record Keeper as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Artniks as a series of cards.
- Final Fantasy Trading Card Game as a series of cards.
- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as a summonable vision.
- Triple Triad as a card.
In Final Fantasy XIV, a chocobo's feather colors are changed by feeding it different fruit, where each fruit will change the color bias based on an RGB and CMY scale. Feeding the chocobo Doman Plums will increase the Cyan value.
Behind the scenes
Cyan's character stayed consistent during development, but parts of his story were supposed to interact with Angela, an extra character who was cut from the game. She was a "big sister" archetype and had a take-charge, sultry attitude. She would flirt with Cyan, who, considering his personality, would overreact. She had a whip for a weapon.
Cyan's Bushido skill names are simple, but originally, they were to have more dramatic names, such as Chou Baku Hiryuu Zan ("Super Explosive Flying Dragon Slice"). Cyan's Desperation Attack, Tsubame Gaeshi, was a famous technique mastered by Sasaki Kojirō, a famed Japanese swordsman in the Sengoku period of feudal Japan. Kojirō was best known to have been slain by Miyamoto Musashi during a duel at the island of Funajima.
An official piece of artwork for Final Fantasy VI depicts Cyan holding what looks to be a traditional Japanese dango.
Cyan's Japanese name, Cayenne, designates a type of chili pepper. Cyan is taken from the Greek kyanos, meaning "dark blue" or "lapis lazuli". Garamonde could be a form of the Old English surname Garamond, or "patron", or a reference to the typeface named after French typesetter Claude Garamond.
His Japanese name Kaien, if written with the kanji 海燕, means "sea swallow". This name goes along with Hien's name (meaning "flying swallow"). It's possibly related to his Desperation Attack, Tsubame Gaeshi ("Swallow Reversal").