Man should fight for the joy of it. To live, to eat, to breed -- lesser beasts snap and howl at one another for this. Only man has the wisdom -- and the clarity -- to embrace violence for its own sake.
Zenos yae Galvus is the main antagonist of the expansion Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood. As Legatus of the XIIth Imperial Legion and the son of emperor Varis zos Galvus, he now serves as the Emperor of the Garlean Empire since the presumed death of Varis zos Galvus.
Although not officially revealed until FanFest 2016, his existence was alluded in the events of Patch 3.4 Soul Surrender.
Zenos dresses in dark full plate armor and often appears behind a horned pale white mask. He incorporates some of Ala Mhigo's traditional outfit into his appearance, adorning his suit of armor with trial textile and a belt.
Zenos is the second Garlean antagonist to go without his mask at times, the first being Nero tol Scaeva. He is a man in mid 20s with a youthful face, fair complexion and long golden hair.
His weapon of choice is the katana. He carries three in a "sword revolver", prominent throughout promotional materials.
Zenos is arrogant, selfish and evil. Having been raised as the heir apparent, he disregards the importance of human life. Drunk on power as the crown prince and viceroy of both Ala Mhigo and Doma, Zenos cares little for his job of governing the provinces.
Since Zenos never found challenge in battle, he treats his conquered subjects as prey to hunt and partakes in battles for the thrill of the kill. His purpose in war is to collect swords. Alphinaud admits Zenos is a peerless warrior and an accomplished general, the crushing of the Doman rebellion standing as proof of that. What Zenos loathes most is an opponent who does not provide enough "sport" in battle or cowards who flee.
Though Zenos views enemy and ally alike with contempt, he acknowledges the uses and strengths of his servants and allies. This includes Yotsuyu goe Brutus's hatred for her people to break the natives of Doma, Aulus mal Asina's scientific theory that would give Garleans the means to wield magicks, Fordola rem Lupis's desire to uplift her people to be accepted by the Garleans and to achieve the power to make all those who mocked her pay, and Asahi sas Brutus's zealous devotion to him. Nonetheless, despite most of them being loyal, they are expendable to Zenos.
Zenos searches for means to augment and improve his body, which already surpasses human limit due to experimentation conducted on him by the Garlean Empire. He defies Garlean doctrine and subdues the primal Shinryu for his own use, claiming to care little about his nation and its cowardly creeds regarding the eikons. Following the reclamation of his body from Elidibus and wounding his father, Zenos proclaims that he has no interest in ruling the empire, his only goal is to hunt down the Warrior of Light.
Upon encountering the Warrior of Light, Zenos feels a connection for their progress in battle. He calls them as both his first "friend" and his enemy. This shows another side of Zenos, one that is lonely and possibly fatalistic. Having felt little value in the world except by drowning in the power bestowed on him or the blood of his enemies, Zenos can find a kindred spirit in the one who can finally best him. His newly forged motivation to face the Warrior of Light drives him to remove all obstacles and distractions, his birthright of the throne being among them.
The only other time Zenos shows overt emotion is following the killing of his own father: euphoria over ridding himself of an obstacle in his pursuit of the hunt.
Zenos was trained by an imperial swordsman in the way of the blade. During Gaius van Baelsar's time as imperial viceroy of Ala Mhigo, Zenos oversaw the subjugation of Doma. Zenos became its regent after using his stratagems to corner the Doman Liberation Front while personally killing its strongest member, developing an interest in foreign blades.
After Gaius's "demise" at the Praetorium, Zenos was named viceroy of Ala Mhigo and named his spy Yotsuyu as Doma's acting viceroy so that her hatred towards her own people can break them. Zenos learned of the Echo from Gaius's reports and recruited Aulus mal Asina whose theories of a means for Garleans to use magick like the other races intrigued him. He is mentioned during the events of "Soul Surrender" during the (decoy) Griffin's speech to Ala Mhigan refugees at the Sunken Temple of Qarn. The firebrand describes him as "a beast not a fraction as merciful" as Gaius.
Zenos appears briefly at the conclusion of the Heavensward story in "The Far Edge of Fate". A footsoldier approaches the viceroy on his throne in Ala Mhigo, informing that Baelsar's Wall has fallen to the Eorzean Alliance, and asks whether they should divert some men to repairing the damage from the battle between Shinryu and Omega. The soldier retreats in fear when Zenos fails to reply. Zenos comments to himself on his spy's reports about the Domans referring to the eikon as Shinryu, and that things are about to get "most interesting".
During the events of Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood, after being welcomed to Ala Mhigo Castle with the Garlemald anthem played in his honor, Zenos learns of Grynewaht pyr Arvina's failure, which led to losing a new series of Magitek automatons in an ambush orchestrated by Raubahn Aldynn and the Ala Mhigan Resistance. Zenos requests Grynewaht's removal from his legion for cowardice while executing Grynewaht's commanding officer for his incompetence. He listens to the plan Fordola rem Lupis formulated to bypass the barriers concealing Rhalgr's Reach and slaughter the rebels. Zenos oversees the attack, overpowering Lyse Hext, critically wounding Y'shtola Rhul, and defeating the Warrior of Light with ease. Losing one of his swords while defeating the Warrior, Zenos leaves disappointed in his opponent as the Alliance arrives to aid the rebels.
When word reaches Zenos of the Confederacy's attack on Isari, he travels to Doma Castle and receives the Kojin sword, Ame-no-Habakiri, which Yotsuyu took from the Red Kojin she had killed for abandoning their posts when they were needed in Isari. Zenos uses the blade to overpower the Warrior of Light and Yugiri Mistwalker when they attempt to assassinate him. Zenos discards his helmet upon finding it damaged by the Warrior. Sparing the Warrior in hopes of more pleasurable fight, Zenos takes his leave after the amassed Namai villages, Alisaie Leveilleur, and Gosetsu Everfall stop him from killing Yugiri. Threatening Yotsuyu to not fail him again in subduing the rebels, Zenos returns to Ala Mhigo where he acquires Shinryu to ready himself for another battle with the Warrior of Light.
When news reaches Zenos of Doma's liberation, he kills the messenger while musing over his next fight with the Warrior of Light. Fordola arrives with Krile Mayer Baldesion as captive and Zenos awards her with one of his men's gunblades and sends her to Aulus. Following her loss of Castellum Velodyna (and unintentionally causing the summoning of the Ananta primal Lakshmi), expecting to be executed for her failure, Zenos instead spares Fordola when she admits she desires to grow stronger, and instead has Aulus turn her into a Resonant.
When the Scions of the Seventh Dawn storm Castrum Abania, Fordola delivers Zenos's message for them to come to Ala Mhigo Castle for the "royal hunt" he readied for them. When the alliance storms Ala Mhigo Castle and the Warrior of Light reaches the Hall of the Griffin, Zenos engages the hero. Excited that the Warrior has met his expectations, Zenos takes the fight to the Royal Menagerie where he frees Shinryu and uses his Resonant powers to take control of the primal by merging onto its chest. After an epic battle in the sky, Shinryu is defeated and Zenos crashes into the menagerie. Elated over his defeat and of fulfilling the role he was raised to play, Zenos uses Ame no Habaki to slit his own throat.
The Ascian Elidibus possesses Zenos's corpse, spreading the rumor that Zenos was only injured in the battle. He appears before Varis and proceeds to orchestrate numerous schemes from using Asahi and Yotsuyu to sabotage Varis's plans on establishing peace with Doma to commissioning the Black Rose for wartime use. When the siege of Ala Mhigo commences, Elidibus leads the army as Zenos.
Hien, Lyse, and Yugiri are sent to intercept Zenos after receiving word that he has been ambushing the resistance soldiers stationed on the front lines, but he easily overpowers them. The Warrior of Light kills him, but Zenos is immediately resurrected, as Ascians cannot die through conventional means. As he approaches the Warrior of Light, he or she loses consciousness due to being called from the First. As Elidibus raises Ame-no-Habakiri to deal the killing blow, Estinien Wyrmblood arrives and spirits the unconscious Warrior of Light away. Elidibus is forced to retreat as he is called back by Emperor Varis, following the offensives' losses and the spreading of rumors that Zenos is possessed by a dark spirit, leading to unrest in the Imperial Court.
With the battle in Ala Mhigo having reached a stalemate, the real Zenos—having used his Resonant abilities to possess an Ala Mhigan soldier—arrives to reunite with his "first friend". Acknowledging that the Warrior of Light's hunt leads them elsewhere, Zenos proclaims that before they reunite, he will reclaim what is rightfully his: his body.
Following the Warrior's victory over Emet-Selch in the First, the real Zenos makes his way to the Imperial palace in Garlemald while slaughtering his way to the throne room in a Centurion's body. Elidibus, sensing Emet-Selch's demise, decides to abandon his vessel with Zenos regaining his body along with knowledge of the Ascians' agenda. Gaius and Estinien enter the throne room and witness Zenos murdering his father while explaining he has no intention of ascending the throne and only desires to get rid of those who would interfere in his hunt for the Warrior of Light. Gaius and Zenos clash with the duel's outcome unknown.
Zenos is fought on four occasions, the first two as unwinnable battles demonstrating his might. In the level 61 solo instance "In Crimson It Began", he is the final opponent, who effortlessly swats away the other Scions with the player character barely able to stand up to him before he decides they are unworthy opponents. During the level 64 instance "The Time between the Seconds", the player character duels him, but once Zenos draws the Ame-no-Habakiri he out-classes them.
He is encountered for the third time in Ala Mhigo as the final dungeon boss, where he can be defeated and forced to retreat. He then uses the power of the Resonant to fuse with Shinryu, and is fought as a trial boss, making him the final boss of Stormblood.
He is fought one final time in the level 70 instance "A Requiem for Heroes", the final quest of the patch content for Stormblood. He is first fought by the player controlling Hien through the role-play system, accompanied by Lyse and Yugiri, then immediately after he is fought by the Warrior of Light, and as during this time he is possessed by Elidibus, uses powerful magic abilities in addition to his normal attacks.
Zenos's cutscene appearances are accompanied by "Meteor", a theme previously used for Nael van Darnus. His first battle is accompanied by "Wrath of the Eikons", a theme typically associated with Diabolos. His second battle is accompanied by "Bite of the Black Wolf", which has been used for other Legatus before. His final battle in Ala Mhigo has the "Triumph" theme, the default theme for dungeon final bosses in Stormblood.
Zenos yae Galvus is a playable character and a representative of Final Fantasy XIV. He is a warrior of Spiritus.
He was revealed during the Final Fantasy XIV Tokyo Fan Festival 2019. He was introduced in the March 26th update for the arcade version. The following month, he was added to the PlayStation 4 and Steam versions as a standalone DLC.
A Zenos figure is included in the Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood Collector's Edition package.
- Zenos yae Galvus shares some similarities to Nael van Darnus, the main antagonist of the original version.
- Both are Legatus of an Imperial Legion whose goals are beyond the empire's. They even mock the empire before their final fights.
- They emit a crimson aura and have glowing crimson eyes, for Nael because of Dalamud/Bahamut's influence, and for Zenos because he is a Resonant.
- Both got powers from great wyrms related to the First Brood who were sealed inside artificial moons. Nael received powers in the Holocharts from Bahamut, a primal based on the same member of the First Brood sealed inside Dalamud, while Zenos took the power of Shinryu, a primal created with the Eyes of Nidhogg who was briefly sealed inside Papalymo's cocoon.
- After their respective deaths, both Legatus were resurrected and possessed by another: Nael by Bahamut and Zenos by Elidibus.
- In some of his appearances, Zenos has been accompanied by musical themes originally related to Nael, such as the "Meteor" theme, and Gaius' "Bite of the Black Wolf", which is an instrumental version of Nael's "Rise of the White Raven".
- Zenos is depicted at level 70 in all encounters, even while the player is in lower 60s and otherwise fights enemies of similar level, emphasizing his role as an opponent for the Warrior of Light to reach and surpass in Stormblood.