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To the one true god. To Zodiark!

Ascians praising their deity.

Zodiark [ˈzoʊ.di.ɑːrk] is a powerful supernatural being in Final Fantasy XIV who commands the power of Darkness. The Ascians worship Zodiark as their god, and their ultimate goal is to restore his power so he may destroy Hydaelyn.

History[]

Before Final Fantasy XIV[]

Zodiark, the first primal and the embodiment of darkness, came into being when the Convocation of Fourteen sacrificed half of the planet Etheirys's population to summon a being to avert the impending Final Days that had befallen their world. The Convocation member with the title of Elidibus made himself the first offering to form Zodiark's core. Though Zodiark stalled the Calamity by creating a barrier to replenish Etheirys's aether, he and the Convocation were now driven by an obsessive need to restore the planet as it was before the Final Days. This resulted in a series of sacrifices, first by offering another half of their population to restore Etheirys to habitability, and the plan on harvesting the lives of the new races that would develop on the planet in the future to resurrect those they had sacrificed earlier.

FFXIV Hydaelyn Art

A mural of Hydaelyn sundering Zodiark.

Venat disapproved of the Convocation's plans and their clinging to the past, gathering like-minded followers among the ancients. Elidibus sensed this conflict from within Zodiark and separated himself to resume his duties in the Convocation as a primal to peacefully resolve the issue between the two groups. However, Venat used her faction's sacrifice to become the primal Hydaelyn, sundering Zodiark and Etheirys into fourteen fragments: thirteen reflections and the Source. The ancients, their souls divided, mostly forgot about their original existence, powers, and society. As Hydaelyn knew Zodiark was essential to prevent the Final Days from resuming, she imprisoned him in an artificial satellite that came to be known as the Source's moon, in an area called Mare Lamentorum while his fragments were sealed in the other reflections.

Elidibus and the other surviving members of the Convocation of Fourteen—Lahabrea and Emet-Selch—became the first Ascian Paragons. They sought to recruit their fragmented comrades to commence their work to restoring Zodiark by rejoining the reflections back to the Source while weakening Hydaelyn's influence, whom they considered a usurper. They paid no heed to what happened to the inhabitants of these worlds, considering the peoples of the Source and its reflections but flawed mockeries of the ancients. They engineered the Umbral Calamities, periods of cataclysmic turmoil known to the history as the Umbral Eras, each one strengthening Zodiark and in turn all souls of the Source. The fall of Dalamud at the end of the Sixth Astral Era marked the seventh Rejoining.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn[]

Gaius:

Lahabrea... What have you done?"

Lahabrea:

No more than was necessary...for my god to be reborn.

Gaius and Lahabrea.

The Ascians had been manipulating Garlean forces under Gaius van Baelsar to restore an ancient machine, the Ultima Weapon, that would play to their goal of reviving Zodiark. These manipulations included both capturing the essences of primals through Gaius's campaign, and keeping tabs on the Scions of the Seventh Dawn through the possessed Thancred Waters.

A leader of the Ascians, Lahabrea, was thwarted, and the Ultima Weapon was destroyed. The Ascians gathered, stating that the primal Bahamut was stirring, heralding another way for them to resurrect their deity. Zodiark's emissary, Elidibus, appeared before the Warrior of Light out of curiosity, believing the mysteries around the figure would be revealed in due time.

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward[]

To initiate an eighth Rejoining, the Ascians sought to exploit the tensions during the on-going Dragonsong War in the Northlands, culminating with the primal King Thordan attempting to obtain the power of the Warring Triad sealed at Azys Lla.

In their haste the Ascians Igeyorhm and Lahabrea were undone: the former was shattered by the Warrior of Light using White Auracite and one of the dragon Nidhogg's eyes, while the latter was slain when King Thordan turned on him and absorbed his aether. These setbacks prompted Elidibus to call forth the Warriors of Darkness from another reflection of the Source to expedite the process by terrorizing the beastmen by killing their primals and thus forcing them to summon stronger protectors. Though the Warriors of Darkness were defeated, Elidibus acquired the eyes of Nidhogg and gave them to the Ala Mhigan extremist known as the Griffin to serve his ends. Griffin summoned a new primal he claimed would even eclipse Bahamut, called Shinryu, nearly invoking the Eighth Umbral Calamity. However, Papalymo Totolymo and Omega stopped it.

Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers[]

FFXIV Zodiark vs Hydaelyn Art

A mural depicting Zodiark fighting Hydaelyn.

During their exploration of the Qitana Ravel, the Warrior of Light and their comrades in the Scions of the Seventh Dawn chanced upon a set of murals depicting great mythological stories, the most ancient of them several millennia old. Upon viewing a battle where the god of light triumphed over the god of darkness, Y'shtola Rhul and Urianger Augurelt surmised the painting could be linked to Hydaelyn and Zodiark. Emet-Selch—who accompanied the party as an observer—explained these gods did not create the world, but were summoned by its inhabitants in the same way any primal would, meaning they were "the eldest and most powerful of primals".

Back at the Crystarium, Emet-Selch explained how ages ago only one intact world existed where the Ascian people lived, and related Zodiark and Hydaelyn's origin story. When Hydaelyn had shattered Zodiark and the world, even the Ascians' souls had split into fourteen, leading to the birth of the myriad peoples living in this new world, ignorant of their past and unable to access even a fraction of the original power of creation the Ascians had held. Thus, the Rejoinings' ultimate goal in reviving Zodiark by the few remaining Ascians who had kept their souls intact (Lahabrea, Elidibus, and Emet-Selch) was to restore their world in its original state. According to Emet-Selch, those living beings who would survive the remaining calamities and the final sacrifice to Zodiark would be reborn in their true ancient form. It is implied that the Warrior of Light and their First counterpart, Ardbert—along with four other versions of them residing in the remaining Shards—were reincarnations of the 14th Convocation member.

While Fandaniel secretly did not share his fellow Ascians' plan to restore their home, he saw Zodiark's release as essential to his true plan of destroying the world. After the demise of all three Ascian Paragons, he created the primal Anima and used it to amass enough aether to unleash a blast of energy from the Tower of Babil to break the remaining brands of the seals binding Zodiark.

Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker[]

While Fandaniel acquired the aether he needed, it was not enough to completely shatter the seal. He and Zenos Galvus departed to the moon to personally break the final brand. The damage to the seal caused souls to manifest from Zodiark and impede the Warrior of Light before Hythlodaeus told them to stand down.

The Warrior of Light failed to prevent Zenos from destroying the final brand, with Fandaniel merging into Zodiark to take control of the incomplete primal and challenge the Warrior. After a titanic battle, the incomplete Zodiark was defeated. Rather than allow Zodiark to be sealed again, Fandaniel revealed his true plan: for Zodiark's demise to allow the Final Days to resume and bring about the end of the world. Fandaniel forced Zodiark to plunge its hand into its own chest, destroying them both.

With Zodiark's death, the souls used to create Him returned to the aetherial sea. It was also believed that with His death, His remaining aether within the remaining reflections was also lost and scattered. However, it was later revealed that the aether of the part of Him that resided in the Thirteenth remained due to the shard having been wholly consumed by darkness, which prevented souls from returning to the aetherial sea. Golbez used this aether to create a powerful voidsent named Zeromus.

Characteristics[]

Appearance[]

The statue of Zodiark[1] depicts him as a stylized humanoid figure bearing a crown-like adornment and two upside-down wings. Some of his adornments bear a superficial resemblance to parts of the Ivalician Esper of the same name. The symbol that appears across Lahabrea's face while performing magick resembles this statue.

FFXIV Dark Crystal

Zodiark's influence on the Mothercrystal in the Warrior's Echo.

A possible sighting of him is when the Warrior of Light has a vision of a dark crystal.

In Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers, during the final battle with Hades, he wields a crystal staff that bears the likeness of Zodiark depicted in the murals.

In Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, Zodiark's bound form is found on Mare Lamentorum on the moon. In this form, he looks like a multi-armed red giant, wearing a mask with an X symbol. When he's fought in The Dark Inside, Zodiark is partially awaken, a purple giant with six hands and twisting, barbed roots for legs. However, as Zodiark is not fully restored from his first battle with Hydaelyn, pieces of him are missing, such as some of his roots and three of his arms. Partway through the fight, his mask shatters, revealing his resemblance to Chaos, the final boss of the original Final Fantasy. Overall, his appearance looks like a Yoshitaka Amano illustration, a humanoid man with sharp teeth.

Personality[]

Zodiark's personality, goals, and motivations are not directly known. Goddess Hydaelyn, through the Word of the Mother, implies that she went to war with her counterpart to prevent the balance from being disrupted, while Emet-Selch reveals that Zodiark was created to restore order to the fraying fabric of reality and claims he immediately tempered his creators. This claim is later indirectly disputed by the loporrit Livingway, who contends that even a primal on the scale of Zodiark summoned with proper creation magicks would exert no more than "a little tug" on their creators[2]. The Amaurotine Hythlodaeus reveals that Zodiark required the consumption of half of the population's souls to enact his function, however these were rendered to him willingly. The Ascians consider Zodiark the world's true caretaker, while those who created Hydaelyn considered him dangerous enough to shatter the world to seal away yet too important to destroy outright. Zodiark's true disposition, after Elidibus separated from him, is of acting on instinct due to the collective will of the souls forming his body.

Gameplay[]

Zodiark is fought as the first trial boss of Endwalker in The Dark Inside. He can also be faced in Extreme difficulty in The Minstrel's Ballad: Zodiark's Fall.

Behind the scenes[]

Original Gaia concept art from FFXIV

Concept art of Gaia from Final Fantasy XIV 1.0, which served as the basis for Zodiark's early appearances.

In the original release of Final Fantasy XIV, the eldest primal, know as Gaia was meant to be the god of the Ascians originally sealed beneath Silvertear Lake until the death of Midgarsormr saw her released. With the 1.X patches, the change of story direction, and the subsequent rerelease of the game as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, the concept behind the character was scrapped and the Ascian's god was changed to Zodiark.[3]

In patch 2.4, with the introduction of the Chrysalis and its associated trial, an idol representing Zodiark was required by the art team, leading Banri Oda to reuse the early Gaia artwork for it. Modified in various ways, including changing the silhouette to more male-coded proportions, this look served as the basis for Zodiark's portrayal in the game until his appearance in Endwalker.[3]

Gallery[]

Etymology[]

Zodiark is an Esper from Ivalice. He is the "ultimate" Esper, and an optional challenge to acquire in the games he appears in summonable form.

In both astrology and historical astronomy, the zodiac is a circle of twelve 30° divisions of celestial longitude that are centered upon the ecliptic: the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year.

The term zodiac derives from Latin zōdiacus, which comes from the Greek ζῳδιακὸς κύκλος (zōdiakos kyklos), meaning "circle of animals", as half of the signs of the classical Greek zodiac are represented as animals (besides two mythological hybrids).

Citations[]

  1. Final Fantasy XIV, 2.3 main scenario "Defenders of Eorzea"
  2. Unto the Heavens
  3. 3.0 3.1 FINAL FANTASY XIV [@FFXIV] (2024, January 6). "開発のここが言いたい / Tales from the Development Side" in "[Day 1] FINAL FANTASY XIV FAN FESTIVAL 2024 in TOKYO" [Video]. YouTube.
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