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 Legion and the son of emperor Varis zos Galvus, he now serves as the Imperial Viceroy of Ala Mhigo since the death of Gaius van Baelsar.
Although not officially revealed until FanFest 2016, his existence was alluded in the events of Patch 3.4 Soul Surrender.
Zenos, like many other Garlean militants, dresses in dark full plate armor and often appears behind a pale white mask with two horns. He incorporates some of Ala Mhigo's traditional outfit into his appearance, adorning his suit of armor with trial textile and 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 and fair complexion. His long golden hair flows down his back and shoulders, visible even with mask.
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 to be the next emperor in line for the throne, 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 not as people but 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 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 empire. He goes against 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.
Upon encountering the Warrior of Light, Zenos feels a connection for their progress in battle. His last words call them as both his first "friend" and his enemy. This shows another side of Zenos, one that is lonely and possibly fatalistic, who having felt little value in the world except by drowning in the power bestowed on him or the blood of his enemies, can find a kindred spirit in the one who can finally best him. This could also mean, prior to his manic behavior towards the Warrior of Light becoming strong enough to challenge him, that Zenos is sociopathic and nihilistic, as he cares little for the lives and the world around him until finding someone who can face him as an equal.
Zenos was trained by 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, developing an interest while recruiting 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 incompetent 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, Zenos 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 throat.
But the Ascian Elidibus would possesses Zenos's corpse, instilling the rumor the Zenos was only injured in battle as he appears before Varis and proceeds to orchestrate numerous schemes from using Asahi and Yotsuyu to sabotage Varis's intend to establish peace with Doma to commissioning the Black Rose for wartime use. When the siege of Ala Mihgo commences, Elidibus leads the army as Zenos.
Zenos is fought on three 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 final time in Ala Mhigo as the dungeon boss, where he can be defeated and forced to retreat. He uses the power of the Resonant to fuse with Shinryu, and is fought as the final boss of Stormblood.
Unlike most Garlean characters, Zenos's cutscene appearances are accompanied by "Meteor", a theme previously used for Nael van Darnus. His first two battles are accompanied by "Wrath of the Eikons", a theme typically associated with Diabolos.
- Zenos yae Galvus shares some similarities to Nael van Darnus, the main antagonist of the original version of the game.
- Both are Legatus of an Imperial Legion whose goals are beyond the empire's. In fact, they even mock the empire before their final fights.
- They emit a crimson aura and 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 individual: Nael by Bahamut and Zenos by Elidibus.
- 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.