Crystal bearer... I am Hydaelyn, all made one.Hydaelyn describing herself to the adventurer.
Hydaelyn, also referred to simply as The Crystal or The Mothercrystal, is a central character in Final Fantasy XIV. She shares her name with the world where the game takes place, which she had created. A sentient crystal, she sends the Warrior of Light on their quest against the Ascians' machinations.
Sentient crystals have been a core element of the Final Fantasy series since the first game, their chosen being the player characters known as the Warriors of Light. Crystals are deity-like figures that tend to govern the world's elements or souls and the cycles of incarnation in some manner.
Hydaelyn is a gigantic sentient crystal, shaped roughly like a teardrop with several smaller crystals orbiting her in a ring.
Hydaelyn shows kindness and care towards the world she created, feels threatened by the encroaching darkness, and sees the Warrior of Light as her chosen who will return light to the world. She speaks in a soft, gentle voice, never venting negative emotions.
Mark her words well, Adventurer, for it is Hydaelyn herself who speaks.
Before Final Fantasy XIV
During the "Final Days" of the original world, the Convocation of Fourteen created the will of the Star, Zodiark, through a succession of mass sacrifices, first to preserve and then to rebuild their world. The Convocation planned to cultivate the "lesser" lives that would develop on their world, then harvest and offer them up to Zodiark to resurrect the ancients originally sacrificed in the process of his creation. However, a faction of ancients disapproved of continuing the cycle of sacrifice and feared Zodiark's unchecked power, instead offering themselves to create an opposing primal—Hydaelyn—that would keep Zodiark in check, with their leader Venat becoming Hydaelyn's heart. The two battled, culminating with Hydaelyn fragmenting both Zodiark and the world itself into fourteen pieces, the Source and its Thirteen reflections, before taking his place as the will of the Star.
Some time after the sundering, Hydaelyn allowed Midgardsormr and the First Brood sanctuary on the Source after war destroyed their star in exchange for a pact. While Hydaelyn worked throughout the ages to prevent Zodiark's restoration, bestowing crystals on generations of Warriors of Light for them act as the enforcers of her will, she could not prevent the Ascians from causing Calamities to gradually restore their world as well as Zodiark. With each successive Calamity, Zodiark's power regrew, while Hydaelyn's power weakened.
Final Fantasy XIV 1.0 and Realm Reborn
Hydaelyn awakened an adventurer's ability to use the Echo by conjuring a Starshower as she had with many of her past champions. Hydaelyn later makes herself known to this Warrior of Light before s/he receives a vision of the Ascian Lahabrea. After the Warrior of Light gains the first Crystal of Light, Hydaelyn appears to him/her in a vision with instructions to find the other crystals and banish the encroaching darkness from the world. During the final confrontation with Lahabrea, the Warrior and the Ascian appear before the goddess.
The Warrior of Light glimpses a dark crystal identical in shape to Hydaelyn in a vision. She no longer speaks with the Warrior of Light after Midgardsormr cancels the Blessing of Light to test the Warrior's worth, enabling the Ascian Nabriales to attack the Scions of the Seventh Dawn directly. Later, while escaping through the Sil'dih Aqueducts, Minfilia Warde claims to hear Hydaelyn and decides to stay behind.
Ysayle Dangoulain is another of Hydaelyn's chosen, and the Warrior of Light gradually regains the Blessing of Light, with Hydaelyn warning of a great darkness. Once the blessing is restored, Midgardsormr recognizes the Warrior of Light as Hydaelyn's chosen.
Krile also possesses the Echo, and mentions people with it are born around the time of Umbral Eras. She reveals Hydaelyn gives gifts in the form of Crystals of Light whose potency depends on the time Hydaelyn created it prior to her waning strength. The crystal eye in Matoya's possession is one such Crystal of Light from an older era.
Hydaelyn had urged Minfilia to return to Y'shtola and Thancred Waters's side following their escape attempt. Minfilia was caught up in Y'shtola's Flow spell, which brought her into the Aetherial Sea and to Hydaelyn herself. Minfilia offered her body to the weakened Mothercrystal, and became the "Word of the Mother": her avatar. When the Warrior of Light enters the Aetherial Sea looking for Minfilia, Hydaelyn channels herself through the Word to speak with him/her.
Hydaelyn uses what little strength she has to reveal some of the events that led to her fragmenting Zodiark and attempting to prevent his restoration. She failed to prevent the first seven Umbral Calamities, which restored fragments to Zodiark. She urges the Warrior of Light to stop the Ascians before it is too late, while warning that her strength is waning. She sends the Warrior back while Minfilia's form dissipates into aether.
The Scions learn of Hydaelyn's true nature as an Elder Primal created by a splinter group of ancients that opposed those who created Zodiark. They learn that the Echo is not her gift, but a remnant power of ancients that lays dormant in every soul, since every soul on the Source and its Thirteen Shards is the soul of an ancient inhabitant of the original Star, now sundered into Fourteen reflections. Following the Scions' return to the Source, they conclude they may not fully know Hydaelyn's intentions despite their interaction with the possessed Minfilia, as the Warrior has not heard her original voice since regaining her Blessing.
At PAX East, Michael-Christopher Koji Fox revealed that the songs "Answers" and "Dragonsong" are from Hydaelyn's perspective. The former is her explaining to the wandering tribes that hardship is how one understands their true self, while the latter is Hydaelyn struggling to understand why the Ishgardians and Dravanians created a nigh unbreakable cycle of bloodshed in the Dragonsong War.
Hydaelyn is voiced by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn in English, but from Heavensward onwards she is voiced by Joanna Roth, Masako Ikeda in Japanese, Véronique Augereau in French and Sonngard Dressler in German. She shares her English voice actress with Nora Estheim in Final Fantasy XIII and Rosso in Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-, and her Japanese voice actress, Masako Ikeda, with the Cloud of Darkness in Dissidia Final Fantasy and its sequel and Miotsk Aufmachyt in Final Fantasy Type-0.