Alas, your sentiments betray the narrowness of your view. The fate of Eorzea and its inhabitants is of little concern next to the fate of the world.

Varis

Varis zos Galvus is a non-player character in Final Fantasy XIV. During the events of A Realm Reborn, he becomes the new emperor of Garlemald, succeeding his grandfather Solus zos Galvus. Before his ascension, he was Varis yae Galvus, a High Legatus, but it is unknown what imperial legion he commanded. Though Varis has been depicted in the Imperial Throne Room numerous times, he has never sat on the throne.

He has one known son, Zenos yae Galvus.

Profile[edit | edit source]

Appearance[edit | edit source]

Varis is a large Garlean man with platinum hair. His face is gaunt and he has pale yellow eyes. Like Cid nan Garlond and Nero tol Scaeva, he bears the signature Garlean "third eye" with a circlet worn over and outlining it. He wears a massive suit of dark armor with a red cape, similar to his late grandfather's promotional artwork Ffxiv-solus-zos-galvus. Even for a Garlean, Varis is very tall, towering over his son. Even when shy of twenty years old his height was considered unusual.

Personality[edit | edit source]

The emperor of Garlemald is militant, cold, and stoic, yet determined and charismatic. Varis believes his actions are just as he is willing to kill all beastmen to remove primals from the realm. He follows a "needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" creed, stating that the condition of Eorzea and its people are of little significance to the fate of the entire world in the quest to remove or bind eikons. Despite his stoic and cold personality, Varis is cunning and manipulative, as he twists the Alliance leaders' words and uses their nations' own histories to sow seeds of doubt.

Varis has little to no love for his family, spitting on the coffin of his uncle after ousting him from the throne. He recognizes his son Zenos for the monster he was and does not mourn his supposed death.

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

In his youth, Varis admired and sought his grandfather Solus's approval, but this turned into resentment due to his resemblance to Solus's dead son. Their relationship strained further after Varis learned that Solus was an Ascian and intentionally did not name a successor to incite civil war in Garlemald.

Varis has no desire to rule over Eorzea or other continents, and only wishes to destroy the eikons that threaten them. He is willing to ally with his grandfather's enemies to accomplish this. He ultimately believes that man should be the master of his own destiny, despising the Ascians and their penchant for controlling others.

He aims to restore the world to its original state, freeing the people of their differences to unite them. During the negotiations with the Eorzean Alliance and the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, Varis reveals his true goals are more closely aligned with the Ascians, wishing to invoke the Umbral Calamity to restore mankind as one true perfect race devoid of differences. He believes these differences between races are what sprout feelings of distrust and hate. Varis beseeches the leaders of Eorzea to join him and his Empire to accomplish this goal, regardless of the cost it may have on the other reflections of the Source.

Despite his conviction in completing the Rejoining, Varis does care for Garlemald, its people and their freedom. Thus, he feels the burden of the throne is not meant for his twisted son, Zenos, who cares little for the Empire.

Story[edit | edit source]

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn[edit | edit source]

Varis spits on the casket of his grandfather.

Varis zos Galvus is revealed as the new emperor of Garlemald during a meeting of the Eorzean Alliance, having settled the succession crisis following Solus zos Galvus's death. He had been contesting the throne with his uncle, Solus's youngest son. Being a High Legatus and therefore with military prowess, Varis ousted his rival and crowned himself emperor. Since he was opposed to Project Meteor, the Alliance leaders worry about another Garlean invasion into Eorzea under the new ruler. For reasons unknown, Varis was experimenting with Allagan cloning technology with Solus as the subject.

Varis as the new Emperor.

Varis had planted a mole in the Eorzean Alliance back when the Grand Companies were reinstated, known as "the Ivy".[2] The spy is Flame Marshal Eline Roaille, the second-in-command of the Immortal Flames. Uncovering the Ivy's spy network reveals she had been a double agent for other parties, such as Ul'dahn Monetarists and Ishgardian heretics.

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward[edit | edit source]

Varis, along with his favored Legatus, Regula van Hydrus of the VIth Imperial Legion, interrogate the Zundu Vanu Vanu of Ok'Gundu in the Sea of Clouds while pursuing Archbishop Thordan VII. Varis acknowledges the Warrior of Light's reputation as a "nuisance", and claims to be seeking a means to stop the primals, albeit with different means as he is willing to kill the Zundu though they had no role in Bismarck's summoning. Lucia goe Junius intervenes with her magitek armor and Varis leaves on his dreadnaught, the Gration, promising the Warrior of Light that they will meet again.

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood[edit | edit source]

After the defeat of the Garlean forces in Doma and Ala Mhigo, the white Ascian Elidibus offers his condolences regarding Zenos's death. Varis brushes him off, saying his son was never fit for the throne while adding that there's no place for "shadowless charlatans" teaching savages to summon their false gods. Elidibus assures he won't stop Varis from pursuing the black Ascians, though Varis remains skeptical of what mortal life will mean after the final Rejoining. Evading his query, the white Ascian reveals he has acquired Zenos's body as his vessel much to Varis's shock and outrage.

Varis decides to broker peace with Doma by sending Asahi sas Brutus of the Populares faction as his ambassador to hold a prisoner exchange as a sign of goodwill. Varis is unaware that Elidibus uses his role as "Zenos" to manipulate Asahi into sabotaging the treaty, but Elidibus assures him that everything is going according to plan, stating that it's for the fate of the world. Though the Populares have been driven out, Varis remains hesitant to invade Ala Mhigo despite Elidibus telling him the time is right. Elidibus takes his leave while the Ascian that assumed the identity of Solus zos Galvus (Emet-Selch) appears in one of the cloned bodies and chastises Varis for his indecisiveness, reminding him that the Ascians created the Empire to cause discord via conquest to preserve the state of the world. Varis, furious with the former emperor, shoots him, retorting that man is the master of his own destiny. Solus appears in another clone body, scoffing before walking away, saying that he's merely doing his duty, as should Varis.

After meeting Solus one final time, livid to learn that the succession crisis from his grandfather's death was intentional, Varis parleys with the Eorzean Alliance before the battle of Ala Mhigo can commence. While the parley starts with him criticizing each leader when they chide his conduct, he is impressed after they compose themselves and realize the Garlean invasions are more than they appear. Varis reveals the truth behind his Empire's establishment and the true nature of the Rejoining as he requests them to join him in seeing it happen so they can destroy the Ascians, only to be disappointed with the Alliance's lack of vision and resolve. Ultimately finding the negotiations to be a lost cause, Varis departs to ready his army for war.

While Elidibus battles the Eorzean Alliance and the Warrior of Light using Zenos's body, Varis is forced to return to Garlemald upon hearing rumors about his son being possessed. This leads to discontent within the Imperial Court, giving the possibility of a second war of succession. The battle in Ala Mhigo reaches a stalemate as Elidibus fails to defeat the Warrior of Light and is forced to retreat, with the Garlean forces following him. Varis argues with Elidibus regarding the battle, but they settle the matter with Varis vowing to do all he can to have Garlemald emerge victorious, warning the Ascian not to underestimate mankind. After Elidibus departs, an engineer approaches Varis proclaiming that production of Black Rose can now commence. Varis hesitates for a moment before smiling deviously.

Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers[edit | edit source]

Zenos... My foolish, greedy son... Was a second life not enough? Was the Empire too rich a prize to ignore? True freedom for our nation—our people—will never be won by a spoiled princeling! The burden of this throne is beyond you.

Varis reprimanding his son

Varis remains in Garlemald consorting with Elidibus about taking advantage of the Warrior and the Scions no longer being on the Source (they have been called to the First). Before either can act on such a plan, a Garlean uniform arrives and reveals himself as the true Zenos, having used his Resonant abilities to transcend death, ready to reclaim his original body from Elidibus.

The Ascian Paragon abandons Varis after failing to stop Zenos and, more importantly, sensing Emet-Selch's demise in the First at the Scions' hands. Zenos wounds Varis in the confrontation, and when Gaius Baelsar and Estinien Wyrmblood burst into the throne room while infiltrating the palace, Varis confirms Zenos has regained his body. Varis assumed his son had returned to claim the throne, proclaiming that the freedom of their nation and people will never belong to his wicked son. However, to his shock, Zenos brushes this off, stating he has no intention to rule over the Empire; he had only returned to remove those who would interfere with his sport, namely his father and the Black Rose poison. Horrified, Varis is left powerless as Zenos murders him to ensure no one will interfere in his hunt for the Warrior of Light. Enraged, Gaius attacks Zenos, but even with Estinien's aid, they fail to defeat the prince. As Imperial forces arrive, they see the emperor dead and assume the Black Wolf and the Azure Dragoon killed him. Zenos, having grown bored of the battle, departs, allowing the Imperial forces to fall into disarray.

With Varis dead and no one to assume the throne, the Empire begins to tear itself apart, just as Varis had feared. The Imperial Legions begin acting on their own ambitions with Garlemald suffering from the civil war.

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

Varis as a boss.

In patch 5.25, a recreation of then-High Legatus Varis yae Galvus is fought in Cid's memories during the solo duty The Bozja Incident, with the Warrior of Light being aided by Mikoto Jinba and recreations of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn. Varis can also be faced with a full party in the Memoria Misera (Extreme) trial.

Spoilers end here.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Encyclopedia Eorzea p.178
  2. Final Fantasy XIV, Main Scenario quests added in "Dreams of Ice"
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