The Heavens' Ward is the personal guard of the Archbishop of the Ishgardian Orthodox Church, Thordan VII. Under normal circumstances, the knights of the Heavens' Ward exist outside the normal hierarchy of the Holy See, but when charged with carrying out the personal directives of the archbishop, they may act with his authority and issue orders to Temple Knights and others.
In keeping with the tradition established by King Thordan I, the Heavens' Ward is comprised of twelve male knights appointed by the archbishop himself. As a rule, married men are forbidden from joining the Heavens' Ward and like members of the clergy of the Holy See, the knights must swear an oath of celibacy. Ultimately, they must dedicate their lives wholly to the service of the archbishop.
The Heavens' Ward is comprised of the twelve finest knights of Ishgard and only answer to the archbishop.
A former commander of the Temple Knights, Ser Zephirin is the Very Reverend Archimandrite of the Heavens' Ward. To compensate for his diminutive stature, he chose to wield a massive greatsword—the traditional weapon of dark knights. Naturally, there is a certain stigma associated with these weapons; Ser Zephirin, however, is not one to be swayed by such concerns. At one time, Ser Zephirin was the favored candidate for the position of Lord Commander of the Temple Knights, but in an unexpected turn of events, the title was bequeathed to Ser Aymeric instead. Deeming a man of his integrity and skill a worthy addition to the Heavens' Ward, Ser Vellguine extended an invitation to Ser Zephirin, who accepted.
The Unbreakable Stone Spear, Ser Vellguine is second-in-command to Ser Zephirin, and is the oldest and longest serving member of the Heavens' Ward. A stern and solemn knight, he was second to Ser Zephirin's predecessor as well, and so was expected to become the next archimandrite. However, believing himself to be better suited to his current position, he declined the archbishop's offer, instead recommending the less accomplished but earnest and capable Ser Zephirin to assume the role in his stead.
A former inquisitor with a sadistic streak, Ser Charibert is perhaps best known for his ruthless persecution of heretics and his brutal interrogations, which often ended in the conviction and execution of the accused. As such, Ser Charibert─not unlike Ser Grinnaux─is an unusual addition to the Heavens' Ward. However, the inherent grace with which he wields magic (a skill likely perfected during the extended sessions with his prisoners) is unparalleled, and it is for this talent alone he was inducted into the archbishop's personal guard.
A member of House Dzemael, Ser Grinnaux the Bull is a peerless warrior. Yet while his combat abilities are exceptional, his disagreeable personality has led to more than a few altercations with others. However, in accordance with the archbishop's desire to recruit knights solely for their combat prowess, Ser Grinnaux was welcomed into the Heavens' Ward. After all, should he grow insubordinate, the archbishop need only "bless" him to guarantee his loyalty once and for all.
A young knight, born of a lesser house and famed for his elegant swordsmanship, Ser Adelphel trained rigorously from a young age at the behest of his father, who believed it would help him to excel in high society. Having mastered the combat arts, he won much glory on the battlefield and eventually secured a place with the Heavens' Ward. Accordingly, he has since risen to prominence and attracted the attention of many young noblewomen.
A man of humble origins, Ser Paulecrain rose from poverty by his skill with the lance alone. Although he was taken into the service of House Fortemps for a time, he was later dismissed for conduct unbecoming. Shortly thereafter, he was taken in by House Dzemael, who found him to be an invaluable addition for his willingness to carry out certain questionable tasks others would not. For his loyalty, he was granted a knighthood, and he remains close friends with his previous employer, Ser Grinnaux.
Having graduated from Saint Endalim's Scholasticate as one of the Trinity, Ser Haumeric's future among the Vault's elite was all but secure. His destiny lied elsewhere, however, for Ser Zephirin, having observed Ser Haumeric's exceptional conjuring abilities, bid him join the Heavens' Ward. A man of strong principles, Ser Haumeric has long strived to walk the righteous path, and so he holds men like Ser Charibert in great contempt.
A former Temple Knight, Ser Guerrique earned much glory during his time as a heavy infantryman. It is said that the Cleaver earned his title when he felled a wyvern with but a single blow of his axe, with an impact so powerful that the beast's head was not severed, but rather obliterated, the pieces flying apart in a thousand different directions. Ever eager to test his strength, whenever deep in his cups, Ser Guerrique cannot help but challenge anyone and everyone to arm wrestling.
Ser Hermenost is a veteran knight who joined the Heavens' Ward during the tenure of the previous archimandrite. A former friar, he is a man of deep and abiding faith. Though he wields a battleaxe, he is also a formidable mage capable of unleashing devastating attacks by imbuing his weapon with lightning─a unique technique of his own invention.
Ser Noudenet, the third son of a baron from the Coerthas central lowlands, was sent to study at Saint Endalim's Scholasticate so that his family would have one less mouth to feed. His father and brother hoped that he would one day gain a position as a senior clergyman, thereby securing them political leverage. However, Ser Noudenet had little interest in the power struggles within the Holy See and instead devoted himself to aetheric research. His great familiarity with the subject earned him the attention of the Heaven's Ward, who extended to him an invitation.
Knighthood cannot be passed from father to son, and so Ser Janlenoux, despite being the eldest son of a knight, earned his spurs like many others: through hard work and dedication. He and Ser Adelphel are brothers in arms, having shared the battlefield time and time again and forged a lasting bond through hardship. While he may not wield his weapon with the same flair as Ser Adelphel, Ser Janlenoux is just as deadly with a blade.
A former dragoon with a distinguished career, Ser Ignasse has slain countless dragons with his peerless technique. His battlefield experience and unwavering loyalty to the Holy See earned him a place among the archbishop's personal guard. Having long admired Ser Vellguine, he believed him the best choice to become the next archimandrite of the Heavens' Ward, and tried desperately to persuade him to reconsider his decision to refuse the honor.
The Heavens' Ward is first mentioned after Alphinaud and Tataru are taken in custody on false charges of heresy. As Ser Aymeric de Borel has no authority over the Heaven's Ward, Alphinaud and Tataru must prove their innocence in combat against two of the knights. As Tataru cannot fight, she names the adventurer as her champion. The knights are defeated and the charges are dropped. The archbishop summons the adventurer and for the first time in a long time, dismisses the Heaven's Ward so he can talk in private.
After Ser Aymeric is imprisoned by the Heavens' Ward, Ser Charibert interferes when the rescue is being planned and shows inhumane strength but is defeated. During Ser Aymeric's rescue from The Vault, it is revealed that the Heavens' Ward members possess abilities far beyond the limits of normal men. Ser Aymeric and Alphinaud figure that if Ysayle can summon Shiva's essence into her, the Heavens' Ward must be doing the same, summoning the essence of the Knights Twelve obtaining primal-like powers. This ability was taught to them by the Ascians.
Once Thordan VII summons King Thordan's essence into himself, the Heavens' Ward fights alongside him against the adventurer, but are killed as King Thordan is defeated.
During the quest "Divine Intervention" the player fights alongside Alphinaud against Ser Grinnaux the Bull and Ser Paulecrain Coldfire in a trial by combat.
Ser Charibert is fought in a solo instance during the quest "Fire and Blood". He along with Ser Adelphel and Ser Grinnaux later appear as bosses within The Vault.
In the confrontation with King Thordan at the Singularity Reactor and in The Minstrel's Ballad: Thordan's Reign, the twelve knights of the Heavens' Ward are summoned at various intervals whenever Thordan uses his "Knights of the Round" ability. During the lead up to his ultimate attack, the party must fight off all twelve knights (sometimes directly) in sequence and avoid increasing their Limit Gauge. All twelve will eventually reappear to participate in King Thordan's Ultimate End attack.
In the Dark Knight quest "Our Compromise", specters of the Heavens' Ward are summoned in sequence by Myste the Delusionist, alongside the Warriors of Darkness, and must be defeated again.
Most appearances of Archbishop Thordan VII and his Heavens' Ward is accompanied by the eponymous "The Heavens' Ward", an ominous theme consisting of horns, violins, and a chorus. It also serves as the boss battle theme for the fight against Ser Charibert at the end of The Vault. The theme contains beats from "Dragonsong". The song is included as the 31st track on the Heavensward: Final Fantasy XIV Original Soundtrack.
Heaven is a common religious, cosmological, or transcendent place where heavenly beings such as gods, angels, jinn, saints, or venerated ancestors are said to originate, be enthroned, or to live. According to the beliefs of some religions, heavenly beings can descend to earth or incarnate, and earthly beings can ascend to Heaven in the afterlife, or in exceptional cases enter Heaven alive.
- The Heavens' Ward, along with the Knight's Twelve they draw their power from, refer to the Knights of the Round summon. King Thordan's desperation move consists of a long barrage from every knight, ending in Ultimate End, the move used by the summon in Final Fantasy VII.