But when nine and nine meet nine, Tempus Finis shall be willed upon them. For without the Agito, their world—called Orience—must persist in its spiral.
- The Nameless Tome 4 - 4
- Within the whirling wheel, nestled in the infinite spiral,
- Lie two sacred thrones.
- In one sits the divine spirit aligned with Lindzei,
- In the other sits the divine spirit aligned with Pulse.
- One seeks to stain the soil with blood
- And thrust open the gates to the realm unseen,
- The other nurtures souls,
- Hoping they will open the gate on the spirit's behalf.
- Bound by their covenant,
- Despite an infinitesimal probability of success,
- The two continue to challenge the limits of possibility
- Over and over, cycle after cycle,
- Until they fade from this world.
- The Nameless Tome - Final Verse
- The wheel whirls within the spiral,
- Its light growing ever radiant with every revolution.
- Yet when the small spiral collapses in upon itself,
- Its light fades, and as a wheel it begins whirling anew.
- Within the spiral emerged a single locus, so close yet invariably distant.
- In the flash of an eternity, one became ten and six, then ten and two,
- And the wheel began whirling once more.
- The first revealed the power of acceptance,
- The second, the power of kindness,
- The third, the power of knowledge,
- The fourth, the power of valor,
- The fifth, the power of innocence,
- The sixth, the power of tenacity,
- The seventh, the power of discernment,
- The eighth, the power of tranquility,
- The ninth, the power of action,
- The tenth, the power of ignorance,
- The eleventh, the power of wisdom,
- And the twelfth, the power of judgment.
- Cast away were the loci of fear, love, suffering, and age.
- Their souls elevated through the endless cycle of transmigration,
- Those who ascend these loci were chosen by the divine spirits:
- One wishing to open the gate with its own hand,
- One wishing to open the gate using the hand of another.
- The elevated souls shine more radiantly as the wheel continues whirling,
- But fragments break off from each locus with every revolution.
- When these shards are ten and two, the souls shall break forth from the wheel,
- Involuntarily moving toward the end,
- And the grand spiral shall collapse, sinking back to the percipient depths.
- Only then shall a new wheel begin to whirl.
- Yet at the edge of infinity, time overflowing is born of the spiral.
- Though the gate remains closed,
- Two loci who fell from the ten and two are granted human will of the divine.
- And the fallen shards rejoin the wheel in its revolution,
- Each one bearing the smile of Etro.
- One of the divine spirits accepts their return,
- Releases the loci and sets out on a new journey.
- The remaining radiance forges the wheel of creation and set it whirling anew.
- Is this wheel one of joy, or one of despair?
- Or perhaps...
The spiral is a mechanism the world of Orience is placed into by the immortal servants of the deities Pulse and Lindzei. They are Arecia Al-Rashia, servant of Pulse, Gala, servant of Lindzei, and Diva, a neutral observer. Arecia and Gala were each charged with locating Etro's gate and opening the way to the unseen realm, the realm of the dead human souls pass into. For this, the two placed Orience within a cycle of repeating events itself within a spiral. Its goal is to find Agito, a powerful group of souls referred to as the "Locus of Ten and Six" that would potentially find the way to the unseen realm.
Arecia would gather and nurture these souls, and when Tempus Finis is invoked when one of Orience's four nations dominates the others, Gala would test their worthiness. If there is no Agito, Gala uses his Rursus Army to destroy mankind and force the gate open with the mass of newly-released souls. When each fail, the spiral revolves and the cycle of history is reset.
Only Arecia, Gala, Diva, Orience's Crystals, and a few select individuals in Orience remember the previous spirals. With each revolution the souls chosen for Agito grow stronger, the deities hoping that eventually they would reach a potential where they would find the gate. Leading up to the events of Final Fantasy Type-0, the spiral revolves 600,104,971 times.
During the 600,104,972nd revolution of the spiral, it is recognized by Tiz that people in Orience are reaching a state of potential unseen in the previous cycles, with many willingly facing death through strength of heart. The loci that were cast away in previous revolutions, Machina Kunagiri and Rem Tokimiya, are reborn, and allowed back into the events by Arecia. Tiz and Joker, the remaining two, have been serving as Arecia's servants for several past cycles.
When Tempus Finis arrives, Class Zero, the incarnations of the loci Arecia had chosen to be Agito, alter the course of events as seen in previous revolutions and defeat Gala's chosen servant, the Rursan Arbiter. Tiz gives Arecia the memories of Orience's Crystals and all those who have died, convincing her to end the experiment and release Orience from the spiral.
Final Fantasy Agito represents the opposite end of the spiral to Final Fantasy Type-0, occurring at the very beginning of the experiment. The events of Final Fantasy Agito play out in a similar fashion to those of Type-0, with the player cadet eventually falling to Gala and the world resetting for another attempt. At some future point in the game's lifespan, events would have changed from those in Final Fantasy Type-0, and a chosen player would have manifested as the genuine Agito, potentially ending the spiral by fulfilling his/her ultimate purpose.
Ultimately (due to the closure of Final Fantasy Agito), the spiral continued. In the spiral's first two revolutions, Tiz and Joker were first approached by Arecia, abandoning their original roles and taking up their positions as outside observers. They bid a personal farewell to the Cadet prior to leaving the spiral, saying that they will attempt to free Orience from its grip before wishing the Cadet well as Tempus Finis culminates.
Creation and development
The idea of a world locked in to a repeating cycle of history, Orience's spiral, was proposed late in the development of Final Fantasy Type-0. Despite being part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis subseries, director Hajime Tabata neglected to put elements of the mythos in until he was reminded by another member of the team. Tabata left it to writers Hiroki Chiba and Sarah Okabe to incorporate the mythos, who created the concept of the spiral. Tabata initially disliked the concept, but later felt it fit in with the game's other Far Eastern influences.
A similar theme exists in the story of Final Fantasy X.
Etymology and symbolism
The concept of the spiral is expressed in numerous places in the game. There is an abundance of clockwork, gears and cog-like designs all around the world of Orience. Cogs generally are part of a greater whole and they fit into a design. Cogs imply cyclicality and repetition of a singular motion. Class Zero cadets are the incarnations of the Agito to open Etro's gate, and when they speak with Queen Andoria, she refers to the cadets as "the final cog". The clockwork design also refers to the seeming artificiality of Orience, forever made to loop in an endless spiral. Above the Pandæmonium there is a large fiery sphere around which cogs turn and a mechanism with likeness to Etro's gate. However, in the game's final scene the clockwork gear atop the flagpole Class Zero had fashioned is broken, perhaps symbolizing the freeing of Orience from the spiral.
Samsara is a fundamental concept within South Asian religions, specifically that of Buddhism, being the cosmological phenomenon of the transmigration of souls after death into another life through reincarnation by one's karma. As it is believed within Buddhism that life is that of ephemeral and fleeting sensations, as well as suffering and illusion, it is a goal for practitioners of Buddhism to reach enlightenment into Nirvana, breaking one's own hold from these cycles and freeing oneself from attachment, desire, and suffering. Yama, the King of the Dead, is a figure within Buddhism sometimes shown cycling a wheel depicting Samsara and it supporting the entirety of existence, showcasing its endlessness and futility; in these works Buddha is shown symbolically on the moon, representing transcendence and breaking away from Desire Realm, where human existence is believed to be located.
Additionally, Buddhism cosmology also hold beliefs in ages of the world, specifically regarding of the coming of the reincarnations of the Buddha, most notably that of Maitreya, who is prophesied to be born into the far future. Such times are marked upon the coming of great figures of salvation and prosperous eras; soon, the coming of an age where Buddhist teachings come into decline; afterwards, an age of abandonment of Buddhist teachings before the coming of a new herald of Buddhism.