I cannot die. Not until I have eradicated you and your kind from this world.The Shadow Lord
The Shadow Lord is the original and main antagonist of Final Fantasy XI. The bitter spirit of Raogrimm, a deceased Galka warrior, he is a large, demonic creature responsible for rallying the Beastmen in an effort to annihilate the Enlightened Races of Vana'diel. He is therefore the cause of the Crystal War.
Ten years before the Crystal War the Republic of Bastok approached the Kingdom of San d'Oria and the Federation of Windurst to propose an investigation of Fei'Yin, a ruined Zilart city. The Republic dispatched three of its Mythril Musketeers to lead the party. First among them was Ulrich, a renowned Hume warrior with the potential to become captain of the Musketeers. Next was Cornelia, a Hume monk famous for aiding people great and small. Finally came Raogrimm, a Galka considered to be his race's greatest swordsman and entrusted with the memories of his departed kin as their Talekeeper.
The Musketeers were joined from Mindartia by Iru-Kuiru, a Tarutaru white mage, and his mercenary companion Yow Rabntah, a Mithra ranger. San d'Oria, on the other hand, sent only one person, an Elvaan knight named Francmage. These six heroes, for each was so regarded in his or her homeland, formed the Multinational Expedition to the Northlands.
The party did not find success at Fei'Yin, however. The ruins swarmed with strange devices and ghoulish beasts beyond what the group could handle. Frustrated at having trudged across the Beaucedine Glacier for no gain, they decided to detour through nearby Xarcabard to see what might lie there. Facing an empty wasteland, some of the expedition members wandered off on their own.
Raogrimm and Ulrich found themselves together among the snowdrifts. For some time Ulrich had been quietly nursing a grudge with his companion. He was disgusted by the Galka's sympathy for Beastmen and embarrassed to admit that the Talekeeper was more skilled with a blade. Raogrimm also shared a forbidden romance with Cornelia when Ulrich wanted her for himself. Brimming with jealousy and influenced by the dark energies of Xarcabard, Ulrich attacked Raogrimm without warning.
Quickly incapacitated, Raogrimm could only ask why his friend would commit such treachery. Ulrich replied simply that he'd never liked the Talekeeper. He moved to deal a killing blow but Cornelia arrived and threw herself on the point of Ulrich's sword. Horrified at having run her through, Ulrich fled in search of the rest of the party.
Raogrimm held Cornelia's dying body and wondered why she would sacrifice herself to protect him. With her last breath she reminded her love that there were people who needed him. He despaired as her life faded.
In truth she had not saved him. Raogrimm had already sustained mortal injuries. As he followed Cornelia into death his rage and sadness resonated through the earth. These intense emotions touched a crystal far beneath him and awakened the energy slumbering within it. This power, possibly the might of the Dark Divinity himself, granted Raogrimm a new body and an army of Kindred soldiers. The Talekeeper therefore rose as the Shadow Lord, a being consumed both by the anger in Raogrimm's heart as well as the fury of all departed Galka whose memories he carried.
The surviving members of the multinational expedition, having been told that their companions were lost to misfortune, retreated from Xarcabard before any more damage could be done. The four soon returned to their respective homelands. The Shadow Lord could not forgive their involvement in his and Cornelia's deaths, however, and turned his new powers to vengeance. Moving unseen across continents, he hunted those that had wronged him.
In San d'Oria Francmage had resumed his life as head of the noble Knights Mistalle. He could not sleep well and walked the city's corridors at night to clear his mind. The Shadow Lord found him in one such hall and spoke to him of what had occurred in the Northlands. The Elvaan insisted that Raogrimm and Cornelia had been lost in an accident. The Shadow Lord cut him down.
Iru-Kuiru had been banished from his Windurst ministry and sailed to Elshimo Island to research the ruins there. The Shadow Lord discovered the white mage snooping around the Temple of Uggalepih, an already perilous lair of Tonberries. Iru-Kuiru had wanted to search for Cornelia and Raogrimm but the other expedition members had forced him to withdraw. He might have been able to heal Raogrimm if only his companions had cooperated. The Shadow Lord did not spare him.
Yow Rabntah arrived in Olzhirya, the Mithran homeland, with a piece of magicite that she had secretly pilfered from Xarcabard. Her use of this prize sparked a civil war in the Gha Naboh Matriarchate, however, and the Shadow Lord found her awaiting judgment after being tried for her crime. The ranger had been the expedition member most capable of finding Cornelia and Raogrimm but had quickly given up the chase. The Shadow Lord took her life before the Matriarchate could see its justice served.
Ulrich had perpetrated deception from the moment he killed Cornelia. He had misled his remaining companions and arrived in Bastok with his reputation intact. Without competition from Raogrimm he had become captain of the Mythril Musketeers. He obtained everything he had wanted but realized that an empty title did not relieve his crushing guilt. He sought solitude and was therefore easily dispatched by the Shadow Lord.
Having tied these loose ends, the Shadow Lord returned to the Northlands and began recruiting Beastmen to supplement his Kindred army. The nearby Orcs did not flock to his banner, however, and the Shadow Lord engaged them in the War of Savages. His demons triumphed over the Bloodwing Horde and their leader, Doggvdegg, was imprisoned in Castle Zvahl Keep for a year. Afterward the Orc would be compelled to lead his people under the Shadow Lord's command.
While Doggvdegg stewed the Shadow Lord looked to Mindartia and demanded the obedience of the Yagudo Theomilitary. Their leader, Tzee Xicu the Manifest, initially planned a resistance but was awed by the forces the Shadow Lord had assembled. She therefore pledged her loyalty to the growing Confederacy. With the Yagudo, Orcs, Quadav, and Gigas supplementing his ranks the Shadow Lord was prepared to march on the great nations of the Middle Lands.
The Crystal War began as the Shadow Lord launched simultaneous attacks on Bastok, San d'Oria and Windurst. Individually the nations were no match for the Beastman Confederate and suffered devastating losses in the opening battles. Archduke Kam'lanaut of the Grand Duchy of Jeuno convinced them to unite as the Alliance of Altana, however, presenting new difficulties for the Shadow Lord's army. When the three nations rallied to Jeuno's defense much of the Confederacy's momentum was lost.
The Alliance eventually massed in Xarcabard in an effort to end the war at its source. Before the fighting commenced the Shadow Lord was visited by Lady Lilith, a woman with demonic features and powers not unlike his own. She offered him additional troops and he agreed not to interfere with whatever business she had at Castle Zvahl. Not knowing what to make of Lilith as she warped away, he prepared to deal with his conventional adversaries.
The three nations attempted to divert his attention with a frontal assault while a strike force led by Ragelise B Baloumat stormed the castle. The Shadow Lord subverted this plan by leaving his fortress unattended and taking to the field himself. He descended upon the diversionary force at the gate and effortlessly blasted through scores of Alliance soldiers. His laughter echoed across the snow as they frantically retreated.
Ultimately the Shadow Lord was undone by a much smaller party led by Volker, Ulrich's nephew, and Zeid, a Galka dark knight. The Shadow Lord underestimated them and, once cornered, was vanquished in his own throne room. His Kindred soldiers vanished with his defeat and the remaining Beastmen lost all hope of overcoming the Alliance. The Orcs would stubbornly prolong hostilities for another year but Vana'diel as a whole was spared the Shadow Lord's wrath.
Twenty years after the Crystal War, rumor spreads that the Shadow Lord will return. Barriers erected by the Alliance to prevent such a revival are shattered by unknown agents and magicite is delivered to Shadow Lord's resting place inside Castle Zvahl. His spirit awakens and soon his entire body rises from its tomb.
The resurrected Shadow Lord finds Zeid and a few adventurers waiting for him. He paralyzes Zeid and attempts to destroy the knight's companions. He does not have the strength he wielded during the war, however, and falters against these common soldiers. The weakened Shadow Lord promises to continue his campaign until the fires of wrath consume him. Zeid, having finally deduced the demon's original identity, responds by calling out to Raogrimm. After a moment of resistance the Shadow Lord's shell fades away and the lost Talekeeper emerges.
Restored to his senses, Raogrimm briefly speaks with Zeid about the rage that lurks in the hearts of their people. They are then interrupted by the unanticipated arrival of Archduke Kam'lanaut and his brother Eald'narche. The latter teases the Galkas for not putting on a better show and reveals that he had arranged the Shadow Lord's resurrection in order to remove the demon's unwitting interference with the planet's crystal energy. Eald'narche confirms that the Shadow Lord is no longer an obstacle and the brothers summon the Crystal Warriors to execute the witnesses.
Unwilling to see Eald'narche succeed, Raogrimm orders Zeid and his friends to flee while he delays these new enemies. Drawing on the powers slumbering within Xarcabard he becomes the Shadow Lord once more. The Crystal Warriors easily destroy him, however, and Raogrimm glimpses Cornelia's spirit as he finally departs the mortal world.
Subsequently the Shadow Lord's memories are channeled through Verena as part of Eald'narche's schemes. The essence of the Shadow Lord meanwhile rejoins the mothercrystals. This later emerges with other villainous souls as they seek to merge into a Keeper of the Apocalypse. Zeid and Aldo defeat this echo of the Shadow Lord before it can become any greater threat to the world.
When Raogrimm had first undergone his demonic transformation a piece of his spirit had broken away and taken root in the dreamworld of Dynamis. Over the next thirty years this lonely shard had grown into a new Shadow Lord in its own right. Fortunately, this towering darkness, the Dynamis Lord, cannot pass into the real world as an incomplete soul. Once the original Shadow Lord is defeated and Raogrimm relieved of mortality, however, the splinter needs only to absorb what remains of the Talekeeper to unleash itself upon Vana'diel.
Feeling the pull of his dark counterpart, Raogrimm's spirit calls for aid. The ghosts of Cornelia and the other expedition members communicate through the dreamworld and organize an army of adventurers to oppose the Dynamis Lord. They march across shrouded lands resembling their home nations and the frozen north before meeting the new lord of shadows in an illusory Xarcabard. Accompanied by two dragons, the Dynamis Lord rages against the interlopers but falls to their overwhelming offense.
With the last vestiges of darkness banished, Raogrimm is finally free. Since his spirit remains incomplete and therefore cannot leave Dynamis, he is tasked with maintaining a vigil over the dreamworld by its creator, Diabolos. The remnants of the other expedition members join him in this duty. The six companions embark on their eternal watch as the adventuring army fades back to reality.
The Shadow Lord is fought in Mission 5-2 by all three nations as the final boss of Final Fantasy XI's original storyline.
An alternate version of him, the more powerful Dynamis Lord, is confronted by players who defeat the Shadow Lord and subsequently navigate the first six Dynamis areas before reaching him in Dynamis - Xarcabard.
The Shadow Lord is also fought in a Campaign Ops called "Fiat Lux". This battle can only be accessed by players who have attained the highest allied decoration, the Medal Of Altana ∮∮∮∮, on a server that has captured the required areas in that week's Campaign Tally.
The Shadow Lord has appeared in the following games throughout the Final Fantasy series:
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy as an enemy boss.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call as an enemy boss.
- Pictlogica Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade as a summonable Legend.
- Final Fantasy Record Keeper as a multiplayer stamp and a boss.
- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as a raid boss and summonable vision.
- Final Fantasy Trading Card Game as a series of cards.
- Triple Triad as a series of cards.
Non-Final Fantasy guest appearances
The Shadow Lord has made key guest appearances in the following non-Final Fantasy games: