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 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.
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 "third eye" of Garleans 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. Even for a Garlean, Varis is very tall, towering over his son. Even when shy of twenty years old his height was considered unusual.
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 consequence 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 words of the Eorzean Alliance leaders 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.
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 learning that he was an Ascian and that the civil war nearly caused by Solus's failure to name a successor on his deathbed was intentional.
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.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Varis zos Galvus is revealed as the new emperor of Garlemald during a meeting of the Eorzean Alliance, having settled the succession crisis following the death of Solus zos Galvus. He had been contesting the throne with his uncle, the youngest son of Solus. 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 emperor. For reasons unknown, Varis was experimenting with Allagan cloning technology with Solus as the subject.
Varis had planted a mole in the Eorzean Alliance back when the Grand Companies were reinstated, known as "the Ivy." 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.
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.
After the defeat of the Garlean forces in Ala Mhigo, the white Ascian Elidibus offers his condolences regarding the death of Zenos. 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 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 Empire was created by the Ascians for causing discord via conquest, all 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 at his proclamation before walking away, reminding him 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, Varis is approached by one of his engineers, proclaiming that production of Black Rose can now commence. Varis hesitates for a moment before smiling deviously.
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). A Garlean uniform arrives and reveals himself as Zenos, ready to reclaim his original body from Elidibus. Zenos wounds Varis in the confrontation, and when Gaius Baelsar and Estinien Wyrmblood burst into the throne room while infiltrating the palace, Varis confirms that Zenos has regained his body from the Ascian. Zenos murders Varis so no one will interfere with his rematch against the Warrior of Light.
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 and recreations of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn. He can also be faced with a full party in the Memoria Misera (Extreme) trial.
- Encyclopedia Eorzea, p. 178