I understand what you're saying. But...you're asking us to spill our blood for you.The Elder, to Banon
The Elder of Narshe is a non-player character in Final Fantasy VI. He is the leader of Narshe, a town that has remained neutral in the war against the Gestahlian Empire, until the town dug up something the Empire is willing to invade them to seize. This forces the Elder to make a difficult decision on where the town stands in the conflict between the Empire and the Returners.
The Elder uses the same sprite as other generic "old man"-type NPCs in Final Fantasy VI, though he uses it with a palette that colors his attire green, giving him a unique appearance. The Elder wears green robes with a green cap over white garments, and has white hair with a beard and mustache.
The Elder detests bloodshed and refuses to get Narshe involved in the war out of reluctance to have the people of Narshe die for wars that are not theirs to fight. It is only when it becomes clear that the Empire is set on seizing the town by force that the Elder acquiesces to Banon and the Returners to allow them to defend the town, and it takes some time after to convince him to formally join the group and lend support. The people of Narshe hold their Elder in high esteem and trust and respect his judgment.
Narshe signed a non-aggression pact with the Empire 20 years ago, and the Elder was eager to preserve the town's neutrality. When the esper Valigarmanda was discovered in the northern mines of Narshe, the Empire sent a force of three Magitek Armor fighters to seize it - Biggs, Wedge, and Terra Branford. Despite overwhelming the Narshe Guards, the Raid on Narshe failed; Terra's presence stirred Valigarmanda and it killed Biggs and Wedge, destroyed Terra's Magitek Armor, and broke the Empire's mind control of her. With the help of Locke, Terra escapes from the town. Despite the Imperial aggression, the Elder still believes that neutrality is in Narshe's best interest.
Banon came to Narshe to try to talk the town into allying with them, but the Elder refused, seeing it as Banon asking the townsfolk to spill their blood for him, but Banon agreed with this because the Empire was intent to conquering the world. News of the fall of Doma Castle did not sway the Elder, as Doma was known to be an ally of the Returners, but then Locke arrived with Celes, a former Imperial general, to warn that the Empire was already planning a larger attack on Narshe regardless of their neutral status. Seeing no choice, the Elder agreed to allow the Returners to fight to defend Narshe in the cliffs above the city. In the ensuing battle for the Frozen Esper, the Returners defeated the Imperial commander, Kefka, and they retreated.
Eventually the Elder agreed to fully support the Returners and plans were made to attack the Empire with a joint force of the Returners, Figaro's machines, and Narshe's resources. They decided to gain additional aid by having Terra contact the Esper World and ask the espers for help. Instead the espers decimated the Empire, and the coalition of Returner-Narshe forces found the town in ruins and the Imperial army in retreat when they arrived.
The Elder is never seen again following these events. As Narshe was targeted by Kefka's Light of Judgment following the cataclysm and subsequently overrun by monsters in the World of Ruin, the Elder may have been killed or fled the town.
Behind the scenes
In the Super NES version of the game, during the meeting between the Elder and Banon, the Elder says "How can WE be encouraging bloodshed?" and Banon retorts they are spilling their blood because of the Elder, putting blame on him for being neutral and allowing the war. In the Gameboy Advance version, the Elder instead asks if the Returners are asking the townsfolk to spill their blood for the Returners, and Banon confirms he is and justifies this by pointing out the Empire's goal is world conquest.
- Final Fantasy VI Settei Shiryō-hen, p. 57