The Empty was created by the Flood of Light that nearly consumed the entirety of the First, having only been stopped by the intercession of the Oracle of Light. Due to the nature of light aether, the aether in the region was brought to an almost complete standstill, leaving a barren wasteland nearly completely covered in nothing but featureless white terrain, not unlike the Burn found on the Source.
Detecting a powerful presence in the Empty suspected to be a Lightwarden, the Warrior of Light, Ryne, Thancred, and Urianger travel into the depths of the Empty where they find the dormant Eden. Making their way inside and subjugating the creature, they discover that Eden is capable of manipulating the surrounding aether. Theorizing that they could use Eden to return the flow of aether to the Empty and restore life to the First, they set out to pockets of the Empty that still have some aetherial activity, and use Eden to summon elemental Primals, which they then slay in order to disperse their aether across the Empty.
With each Primal's defeat, life begins to slowly return to the Empty, though only in the area where Eden was first discovered. Eden is eventually revealed to be the Ascian Mitron, who was transformed into the first Sin eater after Ardbert and his comrades defeated the Shadowkeeper. Mitron informs Gaia that she is the reincarnation of Loghrif, another member of the Convocation of Fourteen who fought alongside him against Ardbert; using the ambient aether released by Ryne and the Warrior of Light, Mitron merges with Gaia and attempts to create a "perfect moment" in which he and Loghrif can live together forever, but is defeated.
Following Mitron's defeat, the pocket of the Empty around Eden is transformed into a lush and verdant paradise, while Eden itself is enveloped in the branches of a colossal tree. Ryne and Gaia predict the effect will eventually spread to the rest of the Empty in time.
The Empty covers the whole region around Norvrandt. The player can freely explore only a small area that is accessible via a NPC in the south of Amh Araeng, as well as Eden's Core. Through the Eden raids, the player can also travel to the few parts of the Empty that still have strong aetherial activity.
- The Core - The core of Eden itself, where Ryne is able to interact with the being
- The Halo - The top of Eden, which can serve as an arena.
- The Nereus Trench - When the waters of the world still ran, this was the deepest underwater trench on the First. Water aether was still active in the Trench, which was used to summon Leviathan.
- Atlas Peak - The tallest mountain on the First. Earth aether was still active on the mountain, which was used to summon Titan.
- The Gandof Thunder Plains - A savannah noted for the frequent thunderstorms that plague it. Lightning aether was still active on the plains, which was used to summon Ramuh.
- Ashfall - A mountain plagued by fire- and windstorms. Fire and wind aether were still active on the mountain, which were used to summon Ifrit and Garuda.
- Great Glacier - The largest glacier on the First, at the south pole of the star. Ice aether was still active on the glacier, which was used to summon Shiva.
- Sphere of Naught - A recreation of a domain of the World of Darkness.
- Laxan Loft - A recreation of the Elven castle that stands in Lakeland.
- Bygone Gaol - A recreation of the gaol beneath Eulmore, where Ryne was imprisoned for much of her early life.
- The Garden of Nowhere - A pocket dimension inside Eden.
The Empty's climate may exhibit any of the following weather conditions:
|Weather||Frequency or conditions|
|Rain||After completing Eden's Verse: Furor until Eden's Verse: Refulgence is completed.|
|Ryne's discovery of a vast concentration of Light prompts an expedition into the barren wastelands left in the wake of the Flood known as the Empty. There, you encounter the immense and enigmatic Eden, the very first sin eater and the progenitor of the destruction that all but consumed the world. Rather than seeking to end this threat once and for all, Ryne hopes to use its limitless power to restore the aetherial balance of the Empty and breathe life into the planet. However, she must first gain control of Eden's core, which is likely to have countermeasures for repelling intruders.|
|Having finally overcome Eden in a battle of wills, Ryne is now in control of the enormous sin eater, which now drifts high above the Empty. Your celebrations are short-lived, however, as Ryne detects the presence of unknown enemies making their way towards Eden's core. While Thancred and Urianger rush to intercept a swarm of foes approaching from inside, you head to the upper reaches to face the threat from the above.|
|Ryne is now able to concentrate on the task of turning Eden's immense power to the task of balancing the aetherial alignment of the Empty. Such a delicate task must be approached one element at a time, and Urianger suggests that the first should be water, essential to all life. However, for the aether to be restored, it must first be given shape through a process akin to summoning. As you call upon your memories of the dread Leviathan, the raging fury of the deluge begins to take form...|
|Having successfully realigned the element of water following your triumph over Leviathan, the next candidate for restoration is earth, in the hope that the Empty will soon become able to support life. As before, you draw upon your experience of primals fought on the Source to shape the aether, this time recalling your fateful encounter with the Lord of Crags, Titan.|
|Although Gaia, the girl who had previously launched an attack on Eden, has finally awoken, her amnesia prevents you from learning much of her origins. For the time being, the best course of action appears to be continuing with efforts to restore balance to the ambient aether of the Empty. The next element is lightning, which once ravaged the Gandof Thunder Plains in the time before the Flood of Light. Your memories of Ramuh give corporeal form to the crackling aetherial energies drawn forth.|
|According to Urianger, the elements of fire and wind must be restored simultaneously to successfully complete the cycle of rainfall and evaporation. Unfortunately for you, this equates to facing the combined might of a pair of raging primals. Images of the ferocious Ifrit and the maniacal Garuda are made flesh, and you steel yourself for battle.|
|As you and your comrades prepare to restore the last of the six elements, Gaia's mind is suddenly seized in the grip of an unknown and malevolent force. Dark aether swirls around her, and slowly coalesces into an ominous glyph, hovering high above Eden. From nowhere, a vast swarm of sin eaters circles around it, as moths to a flame, and a voice that emanates from within the core claims to hold dominion over these creatures of Light. While its true purpose remains unknown, one thing is abundantly clear: it must be vanquished before it is allowed to place your mission in jeopardy.|
|With the dark entity that haunted Gaia defeated, at least for the time being, you return to the task of restoring balance to ice, the final element. Being the most strongly aligned in favor of stasis, it appears that Ryne's direct involvement will be required to properly manipulate the aether. Inspired by tales of Ysayle on the Source, Ryne decides to use her own body as a vessel and wield the power of Shiva.|
|Though balance had supposedly been restored to the six elements, it seems that they are still strongly aligned in favor of Light. To rectify this, you and your companions seek to call forth an embodiment of Darkness and by its defeat, restore life to the Empty.|
|The Ascian Mitron appears before you and not only reveals the true nature of Eden, but also claims to share a past with Gaia. The shadowy visitor lures you into Eden's core where Gaia is spirited away. To have any hope of rescuing her, you must comply with the Ascian's demand to reenact the fateful battle between the Warriors of Light and the Shadowkeeper.|
|Having been forcibly fused with Mitron, Gaia is on the verge of being lost to you and Ryne forever. To make matters even worse, the Ascian draws on Ryne's memories to summon forth a foe born from her greatest hopes and fears. Though you have no way of knowing what powers it may possess, it must be vanquished if you are to stand any chance of freeing Gaia.|
|The entity formed by the fusion of Mitron and Gaia seeks to create a utopia where time has no meaning. Should this plan succeed, not only will the vast quantities of aether absorbed by Eden drain the land of life, but Gaia as you know her will be lost forever. Ryne makes a desperate bid to send you in pursuit, though there is no way of knowing what manner of danger you will face.|
A remix of "Blue Fields" from Final Fantasy VIII plays in the Camp area outside Eden. "Everywhere and Nowhere" plays inside Eden's Core. "Where I Belong" plays once the raid series has been completed.