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 archbishop's personal directives, 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 comprises of twelve male knights appointed by the archbishop himself. Married men are forbidden from joining, and like members of the clergy, the knights swear an oath of celibacy to dedicate their lives wholly to the service of the archbishop.
The Heavens' Ward comprises 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 wields a massive greatsword—the traditional weapon of dark knights. Though these weapons are stigmatized, Ser Zephirin, is not one to be swayed. 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 went 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. Believing himself better suited to his current position, he declined the archbishop's offer, 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 notorious for his ruthless persecution of heretics and his brutal interrogations, which often ended in the conviction and execution of the accused. Ser Charibert─not unlike Ser Grinnaux─is an unusual addition to the Heavens' Ward, but 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. While his combat abilities are exceptional, his disagreeable personality has led to more than a few altercations. In accordance with the archbishop's desire to recruit knights solely for their combat prowess, Ser Grinnaux was welcomed into the Heavens' Ward. 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 glory on the battlefield and secured a place with the Heavens' Ward. 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, he was dismissed for unbecoming conduct and taken in by House Dzemael, who found him an invaluable addition for his willingness to carry out tasks that 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 strove to walk the righteous path, and so he holds men like Ser Charibert in great contempt.
A former Temple Knight, Ser Guerrique earned glory during his time as a heavy infantryman and earned his title when he felled a wyvern with a single blow of his axe, with an impact so powerful that the beast's head was obliterated, the pieces flying in a thousand 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 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 fewer mouth to feed. His father and brother hoped he would gain a position as a senior clergyman, 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 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 mentioned after Alphinaud and Tataru are taken in custody on false charges of heresy. As Ser Aymeric de Borel has no authority over the ward, Alphinaud and Tataru must prove their innocence in combat against two of the knights. As Tataru cannot fight, she names the Warrior of Light as her champion. The knights are defeated and the charges are dropped. The archbishop summons the Warrior of Light and for the first time in a long time, dismisses the Heaven's Ward so he can talk in private.
After the Heavens' Ward imprisons Ser Aymeric, 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 to obtain 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 Warrior of Light, but are killed as King Thordan is defeated.
Prior to the second coming of the Final Days, a group of clergymen loyal to Thordan recovered the sword Ascalon and an Elezen clone. They planned to summon King Thordan into the clone, but without sufficient aether, they were only able to imbue him with memories of the Heavens' Ward. The clone was left behind to fend for himself, before finding the Soleil and crashing it into the Coerthas Central Highlands. He was taken to an infirmary and among his conflicted memories, settled on the name Vaindreau. He left the infirmary in search of Thordan, whom he believed to still be alive. In his despair, he became the blasphemy Profane Fafnir.Aymeric recruits the Warrior of Light, Artoirel de Fortemps, and deacon Clem to investigate the clergy, learning that the blasphemies were among the Ishgardian faithful. After learning of Profane Fafnir's origins, Aymeric calls an ecumenical council in hopes of finding common ground between the people and the clergy, to which he succeeds. With the two groups reconciled, Aymeric lures the blasphemy to the Vault with Thordan's holy crozier. Profane Fafnir lands believing Aymeric to be Thordan, and realizes it has been deceived, and attacks Aymeric, Artoirel, and the Warrior. The blasphemy is slain, finally putting an end to the Heavens' Ward.
During the quest "Divine Intervention", the player fights alongside Alphinaud against Ser Grinnaux the Bull and Ser Paulecrain Coldfire in a trial by combat.
In the confrontation with King Thordan at the 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 repel all twelve knights (sometimes directly) in sequence and avoid increasing their Limit Gauge. All twelve will reappear to participate in King Thordan's Ultimate End attack.
Most appearances of Archbishop Thordan VII and his Heavens' Ward are accompanied by the eponymous "The Heavens' Ward", an ominous theme consisting of horns, violins, and a chorus. It also serves as the boss theme for the fight against Ser Charibert at the end of The Vault. The theme contains beats from "Dragonsong". The theme is included as the 31st track on the Heavensward: Final Fantasy XIV Original Soundtrack.
In the final confrontation against the Heavens Ward in the The Singularity Reactor, the title of the song that plays is named "Heroes", a heroic theme accompanied by a Dravanian choir. The theme is once again heard in The Minstrel's Ballad: Thordan's Reign after Thordan's ultimate attack, following a remix of the song titled "Heroes Never Die". Both songs are included on the Heavensward: Final Fantasy XIV Original Soundtrack as the 52nd and 53rd tracks.
Behind the scenes
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.
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.
- Copeland, Andrew (2016, April 8). "The Lore Train – Duty Commenced Heavens' Ward and Temple Knights Lore Lowdown". From Gamerescape. Archived from the original on 9 May, 2021.