Final Fantasy Wiki
Advertisement
Drake's Head in Oriflamme from FFXVI

Drake's Head, the Mothercrystal of Sanbreque.

Mothercrystals (マザークリスタル, Mazākurisutaru?) are the source of all crystal in the Twins in Final Fantasy XVI, the most valuable material in the realm due to its property of channeling ambient aether from the air to make one's imagination manifest as magic. Magic is an invaluable means of enabling a civilization to flourish on the Twins.

Mothercrystals are mountains of sparkling crystal with a core in their depths where the aether concentrates. As aether is blue in hue, the crystals tend to be take on this color, though the Drake's Breath in the volcanic region appears fiery orange, the Drake's Spine in Waloed appears violet, and the Drake's Fang buried into the earth often appears yellow. Pieces of crystals mined from these motherlodes are known as shards and are rationed and distributed across the populace for everyday tasks to maintain the society's lifestyle, from lighting up street lamps to running forges to providing water to municipal wells.

Mothercrystals, sometimes simply known as "Mothers", being the origin of all crystal in the realm makes them invaluable resources. Societies have concentrated around them since time immemorial and nations wage ceaseless wars to seize and keep control of them, leading to instability and persecution. A religion that worships the crystal monoliths as deities remains in prominence in the west, while on the other end of the spectrum, a small group of people posits that the crystals are a detriment to the realm and need to be destroyed to stop the ever-spreading calamity of the Blight.

Crystals are the icon of the Final Fantasy series, appearing in some form in all installments, variably as origins or life and/or magical phenomena, and as repositories of memories. The quintessential Final Fantasy storyline involves nations vying over the control of crystals and over-use of crystals' powers leading to the corrosion of the very lands where people live. Final Fantasy XVI continues this theme, with many similarities to how crystals appear in Final Fantasy XIV, another game helmed by Creative Business Unit III.

Characteristics[]

FF16 Crystalline Dominion Concept Art

Concept art of Drake's Tail in Crystalline Dominion.

Mothercrystals tower over the landscapes where they are situated. Five Mothercrystals are known to exist in the Twins; a sixth used to exist in the Northern Territories, but has since collapsed, expediting the entire region's ruin. Two more were lost many years ago: one in Southern Ash, and one in the crater of Dzemekys Falls in eastern Dhalmekia, the first Mothercrystal to fall 1,500 years ago.

Mothercrystals are the source of all crystal needed to run society. The lands surrounding them are rich with aether, the life energy of the land and all living beings and the origin of all magic; the motherlodes' surrounds are excellent farmland and all magicks used around them—from Bearers, Dominants, and shards alike—are more potent. Nations have sprung up around each Mothercrystal and war one another for possession of their "blessings".

Drake's Breath Concept Art

Drake's Breath.

The Crystalline Orthodox is a religion that worships the "Mothers" as deities and considers magic-use an abomination and heresy and waste of valuable aether, leading to severe persecution of people able to naturally use magicks. The orthodoxy used to be widespread across the Twins, but in the modern era, it mainly persists in the western archipelago in the Iron Kingdom. Though the other nations do not worship the crystals as literal deities, they are viewed as the most valuable resource imaginable and tend to be used as the seats of power for the nation that currently controls it.

Though the aether-rich environment near the Mothercrystals is considered a blessing, it has a downside: aetherfloods are volatile outbursts of aether known to occur near Mothercrystals. These floods corrupt living beings, filling their flesh with aether, crystallizing their outer bodies and making them act erratically, eventually eroding all humanity and turning the subjects into rampaging beasts known as Akashic.

The heart of a Mothercrystal is where the aether concentrates; it is a crystal formation that glows in iridescent colors. Those in control of the Mothercrystal tend to maintain the inner sanctuaries around these cores to revere and protect them, as should the core be destroyed, the entire Mothercrystal would collapse and vanish into aether.[1] The inner sanctums predate even the Fallen and their original purpose is lost to history.[2] Though usually dormant, if the heart is threatened, it can fight back,[1] such as by releasing aether, animating/empowering a protector—such as Liquid Flame at Drake's Breath, and Titan Lost at Drake's Fang—or by absorbing the crystal formations around it to rebuild them in a new formation, and by using magicks directly.

Mothercrystals of the realm[]

The Mothercrystals have dragon-related names, being named after various body parts of a drake. Dragons are worshiped by the Greagorian church in Sanbreque. There were originally eight Mothercrystals (as many as there are magical elements[3]); five remain on the Twins in present day.

Drake's Head[]

The Sanbrequois crystal is located on the coastline and is a tall spire that cuts the sky. The imperial seat of power is built on the Mothercrystal's doorstep and the capital Oriflamme is build around the crystal, a tightly governed city where many nobles reside.

Drake's Breath[]

Drake's Breath is a towering monolith off the west coast of Storm. It glows red and is situated on volcanic ground. It used to be controlled by the Duchy of Rosaria, but has since been taken over by the Iron Kingdom whose religious leadership worship it as a deity and perform human sacrifices upon its core.

Drake's Fang[]

FF16 Drake's Fang

Drake's Fang is located underground, encased inside a crater. Hugo Kupka built his castle and abode inside the crater, right outside Drake's Fang's core.

Drake's Tail[]

FF16 Twinside

The Mothercrystal of Crystalline Dominion, which towers over the capital: Twinside. It is the largest of the five remaining Mothercrystals on the Twins.

Drake's Spine[]

FF16 Drake's Spine

Drake's Spine is located in the northern part of Ash, near the capital of the Kingdom of Waloed, Stonhyrr. The skies above it are permanently thundering. Drake's Spine is a highly contested Mothercrystal, and wars over its control only intensified in the wake of Drake's Horn's fall.[4]

Drake's Eye[]

Drake's Eye was a Mothercrystal in the Northern Territories that no longer exists; the entire north has been taken over by Blight and the land is now considered uninhabitable. Between the Years of the Realm 170–250, small countries around Drake's Eye were in disarray, and Shiva's Dominant was born in this region.[4]

Drake's Horn[]

Drake's Horn was a Mothercrystal in the southern part of Ash, in the lands overtaken by Blight. It no longer exists. It used to be a source of strife over resources between the Motes of Water tribe and the local beastmen. Drake's Horn fell in the Year of the Realm 350.[4]

Dzemekys[]

The eighth Mothercrystal, known as Dzemekys rather than following the "Drake's X" naming scheme of the other crystals, was located in the southeastern shores of Storm and west of Drake's Tail, in what is now known as the Falls of Dzemekys, the site of "the Sins of Dzemekys". It used to have a portal located at its foot that connected to Origin,[4] through which the tribes that settled the lands around the crystal communed with their god.[5] It was the first Mothercrystal of the eight to fall[6] when it was attacked by the Fallen some 1,500 years ago in an attempt to take the Mothercrystal for themselves. In retaliation, Ultima destroyed both the Fallen airship armada and the Mothercrystal itself, leaving behind a seemingly bottomless crater into which the ocean drains for perpetuity and bringing about the decline of the Fallen civilization.

The Sagespire[]

The Fallen created an artificial Mothercrystal in western Rosaria, in the blighted land now known as the Dim. The crystal is the source of Dusk Crystals and is protected by several Fallen constructs of immense power.

Shards[]

Crystal shard for a street lamp from FFXVI

A crystal shard used to light up a street lamp in Oriflamme.

Shards are mined from the Mothercrystals, rationed, and distributed to the populace across the realm to enable the society's lifestyle that relies heavily on magic. Larger the shard, the more potent it is in channeling aether. Large shards may be purposed as municipal shards, such as in wells to provide water to a village, or for forges to provide fire.

People able to cast magicks without using a crystal shard are called Bearers and enslaved; as crystal shards become ever scarcer, Bearers are more heavily abused to make up the gap, until they succumb to the "crystals' curse" and petrify and turn to dust, having spent all their aether.

Municipal shard in Martha's Rest from FFXVI

A municipal shard channels aether into water in Martha's Rest.

Shards are used for various tasks, such as for providing water, heat, ice for food preservation, and light for street lamps. They shatter after a certain amount of use, making the need for new shards constant.[7] Though shards are often meant to be distributed fairly, in practice, the rich and the powerful get their hands on more or better quality shards, whereas the poor have to make do with what they can get. Smuggling rings exist for diverting shard shipments, and servants and others who get their chance may try to pilfer crumbs of crystals from the rich.[8]

Carefully arranged and activated crystal shards are used in crafting crystal fetters, restraints that prevent aether flowing through the wearer's flesh, used to prevent Dominants and Bearers from using their powers.

After Primogenesis tips the aether balance of the world askew, crystals lose their ability to channel aether,[7] crippling societies used to relying on magicks to function.

The truth of the Mothercrystals[]

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)

The crystals predate the creation of humanity.[4] The Ultima collective created them in places suitable for rich aether flow, as determined from the top of Reverie to sap and store the land of aether and send it to Origin via conduits[9] to be one day used to recreate the world. Ultima's brethren transformed themselves into the crystals and the hearts within them, leaving only one member behind. To hide their true purpose, the last Ultima then named each Mothercrystal after the parts of an ancient dragon.[10]

Cidolfus Telamon as the Dominant of Ramuh and the former Lord Commander of Waloed working under King Barnabas has gained some special insight into the workings of the world, and believes that the Mothercrystals bring forth the Blight by sapping the earth itself of aether. Those who learn of this inconvenient truth are hunted down by those in positions of power[11] who would gain to lose should the Mothercrystals be lost: Cid's plan is to attack the crystals' cores and eradicate them to save Valisthea, both from the spread of the Blight, and from the endless wars that have ravaged the land since time immemorial over control of the Mothercrystals.

After Cid's passing, his protege, Clive Rosfield, continues on his legacy and mission, and eventually destroys every Mothercrystal on Storm. He learns from King Barnabas that the Mothercrystals belong to Ultima, a deity-like otherworldly yet immaterial being that seeks to make "Mythos" a corporeal body for itself. Clive and his brother, Joshua Rosfield, hypothesize that the Mothercrystals' purpose is to siphon such mass quantities of aether that Ultima would be able to cast a spell of whose size has never before been seen on the realm, and reaffirm their plan to stop Ultima's machinations by destroying the final Mothercrystal left on the Twins.

Ultima teleports Joshua and Clive from FFXVI

Drake's Spine's Ultima teleports Joshua and Clive.

On the doorstep of Drake's Spine, the final Mothercrystal, Ultima spirits Clive and Joshua to the rift between realms, seemingly his abode, and explains the purpose for which he has been crafting Mythos: mankind was created by Ultima who never foresaw his creations gaining sapience and beginning to use magic on their own during Ultima's long rest. Clive and Joshua resist Ultima's plans for Clive to lose his free will and serve like Barnabas had, and when they destroy the Ultima inside the rift, Drake's Spine also shatters. Their celebration is cut short, however, as Ultima yet lives and another crystal, largest yet seen, rises from underneath Twinside to the sky: Origin.

Clive and Joshua make way to Origin with Dion Lesage's help, and learn that Ultima is an ancient collective of 16 survivors from another world, and they are the true forms of the Mothercrystals; this is why Drake's Spine shattered when they defeated its Ultima. Destroying the crystals has released the parts of Ultima who join their beings into one. Ultima shows Clive and Joshua the nexus of Origin, the motherlode of all magic power. After gaining the full powers of Mythos when a dying Joshua passes Phoenix's aether into him, Clive defeats Ultima and absorbs the collective's power into himself, using it to destroy the nexus and erase magic from the world permanently.

Spoilers end here.

Behind the scenes[]

The term "mothercrystal" originates from Final Fantasy XI where the mothercrystals are associated with fending off the plague of the land. The term/concept was reused for Final Fantasy XIV, made by the same development team as Final Fantasy XVI, Creative Business Unit III, and thus the games have numerous similarities. Though not referred to as Mothercrystals, large crystalline formations also appear in Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy XV, such as seen around Bhujerba or the Disc of Cauthess.

FF16 Drake's Spine artwork

Drake's Spine, the "lightning crystal" of Valisthea.

The Mothercrystals in Final Fantasy XVI hearken to the concept of elemental crystals dotted around the land in the early Final Fantasy series games, forces of nature that sustained the planets the games take place in, and were sentient in some form, able to bestow power to the player party to make them the "Warriors of Light" with a mission of saving the crystals, and thus, the world. Though the Mothercrystals are not specifically noted as being elemental themselves, they do appear in different colors: the red "fire crystal" Drake's Breath being on a volcano and summoning a liquid flame aetherial being to its defense, the yellow "earth crystal" Drake's Fang being underground, and the "lightning crystal" Drake's Spine having a ceaseless electrical storm above it. The series's archetypal storyline where crystals bestow the player with power to save the world is alluded to in the concept of "Mythos", though via an intermediary rather than from the crystal itself.

Citations[]

Advertisement