Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy (Part 1 of 4)

New to Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy and need to jumpstart your way in? Long-time player of the games and completely lost by the story? Maybe you even think you’ve got a good handle on the wider story and just want to make sure. Well, here’s the complete summary of the game plot and all of the supplemental material to give you a more complete understanding of the Fabula Nova Crystallis universe.

As usual, we eagerly welcome any feedback you might have for us, such as additions, changes, and especially any sections that could be streamlined further.

Note: This is the ultimate spoiler of everything ever, as it takes the pieces from all the games, novels, films, etc., and strings them into one continuous narrative.

All images are from finalfantasy.wikia.com unless noted otherwise.

Writer’s note: For the sake of relevance and cohesiveness, we’ll be focusing on the plotline for Final Fantasy XIII, because: A) there are three separate games under the FNC mythology, B) the only games that have been globally released are the games under the XIII label—one of the games is currently in development and is releasing early next year, one of them has been in development for well over eight years and is prepping to be released soon, while the other has yet to see a Western release, and C) there is no physical way I am writing the entire synopses of all three games; the logistics would be frankly impossible and would be completely disorienting for everyone reading, myself included.

Also, while I have your attention, everything contained in the sections “It Begins...!”, and “Retribution” are all part of the universal mythology the games share, unless marked with an asterisk [*], in which case, it belongs exclusively to the XIII games—at least, for now.

It Begins...!

Our story begins hundreds of thousands of years in the past, in a desolate and barren land. The world is divided into two planes of existence: The Mortal Realm, the realm of the living, and the Unseen Realm, the realm of the dead. Humanity is yet to be in existence, and the only entities that roam the landscape are feral creatures that exist to survive and repopulate the world they live in. During this time, the god Bhunivelze [bin·ā·vil·zə] challenged his mother Mwynn to mortal combat to determine who would claim absolute reign over the Mortal Realm. I heard it was quite the battle, like a battle between Daegon and Delia to the death. Anyway, Bhunivelze eventually defeated his mother, and she departed to the Unseen Realm. At this point, he must have felt so awesome to defeat his own mother, and to earn the right to be the ruler of the Mortal Realm. But, something troubled him.

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Bhunivelze

Aside from the fact that he failed to execute a Fatality, when Mwynn’s soul left the world, she left behind her a curse that would eventually result in the absolute destruction of the world. Or so he thought. Paranoid of his life and the realm he now governs, he sought to find her and finish her off once and for all, but was unable to reach the Unseen Realm without giving up control of the Mortal Realm. In order to do this, he began creating a race of supernatural machines that he would use to keep the world safe and in balance, should he parish. They were called Re–excuse me, wrong game. They would be known as the fal’Cie [fal·sē] (or pronounce “Fallacy” without the second “A”). But, unlike the other race of sentient machines, the fal’Cie are responsible for creating and maintaining the planet that would later be home to humanity. They will also gain the powers to indirectly govern the lives of humans, as well as brand any living entity with tasks, though these are for later.

The fal’Cie aren’t born, per se; they are formed from a crystal that shapes their very form. These crystals also harbor their seemingly limitless power. Over the course of time, the fal’Cie would reach a point of reverence from mankind, as humans viewed them as Gods—even though they are but pawns for Bhunivelze.

The first fal’Cie Bhunivelze created was a mighty being that would later become the namesake of the planet. His name was Hallowed Pulse, but you can call him Pulse if you like. He was tasked to search for the gate that leads to the Unseen Realm. He was pretty chill compared to the other fal’Cie that his father would later create. He had plans to expand the world to the great divines, parted an onslaught of Chaos, and formed most of the landscape with his bare hands*.

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Hallowed Pulse 

The second fal’Cie to be born from the Almighty God was a very interesting figure that plays a pivotal role in the entire plot. Her name—yes, she is a woman—was Etro [etrō]. She was originally built to assist Pulse in the search for the gate to the Unseen Realm, but was quickly scraped. Why did he do this? Did he have a bad day? Was he just a cruel god? Or maybe it was because he unknowingly created Etro in the likeness of his mother that he killed. In his temporal state of fear and hatred, he stripped Etro of any powers to create anything of her own.

After that awkward moment of tension, he built the third and final fal’Cie that would assist Pulse in the search for the gate, along with the powers to protect the world and Bhunivelze, should something drastic happen. Her name was Fell Lindzei (as in Lindsey Vonn, only more powerful and less of a sleazebag). Oh, and by the way, the citizens of Pulse refer to Lindzei as a viper and a succubus. Well then! She seems to have quite the reputation! After she was made, Bhunivelze entered a deep crystal sleep, and gave Lindzei one last task: to awaken him when the door was found. After this, he vanished from the world entirely, never to be seen again.

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A statue depicting Lindzei's ambiguous form.

Retribution

Many years later, while Pulse and Lindzei were doing their duties and creating their own fal’Cie and servants (we’ll save this for later), what was poor Etro doing? Surely she wasn’t just frolicking through a bed of flowers or picking her nose while Lindzei and Pulse did their tasks. She was distressed that she had no powers, and desperate to gain the attention of her father. She no longer wanted to be a spectator in the grand scheme her father had set in motion—she wanted to have a purpose.

Have you ever been in the checkout line at a store, and you hear a child screaming at the top of their lungs to their parents, demanding that they get the thing they want? Well, what happens next is a reenactment of that, only with a Shyamalan Twist. See, she didn’t just demand to receive powers; she tore herself apart to be given a role in finding Mwynn. And when I say she tore herself apart, I don’t mean metaphorically. She actually tore herself apart, as in she grabbed parts of her body and ripped them off, limb from limb. Jeez. It must have been her time of the month, huh?

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A mural depicting Etro distressed that she was given no powers. 

What? Did you think that was the twist? Remember when she drained her blood to give birth to something big? Well Lindzei saw Etro’s torn body and was scared shitless that she had killed herself. But, she caught sight of the blood she spilled onto the ground and had an interesting idea. She would use the blood of her sister to create a new life form for the world. Can you guess what she created from her blood? Us! WAHT A TWIST!! That’s right. We were born from Etro’s blood crashing down onto the land. We are the byproduct of her desperation to seek a purpose in life, and Lindzei’s brilliant idea to use her blood as a means to conceive us.

*And who was the first human Lindzei would create? A sweet, adorable little girl named Yeul [yül] who plays a major role in the downfall of Etro, though that’s for much later. And the best part about Yeul? Lindzei made her in the image of her sister, Etro*.

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But what happened to Etro? Well she’s kinda dead and has now ventured forth into the Unseen Realm. Ok, we can’t just continue to call it the Unseen Realm—it’s gotten old really quick. Well, coincidentally enough, this realm has another name: Valhalla *insert monks chanting*.

During her exploration of the cold and desolate shores and structures of Valhalla, Etro discovers, to her surprise and dismay, Mwynn engulfed by a black, miasmic cloud of energy called Chaos, an enigmatic matter that exists from the imbalance between the Mortal and Unseen Realms. This material is neither living, nor dead. Think of Chaos like the atoms that float around us: they exist, but they’re not alive.

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 Never before has "dead" looked so awesome. 

Source: Play3 

Chaos has… many applications—like duct tape. It can manipulate what we sense, grant us the power to travel through time, tame monsters, increase the lifespan for a species, see visions of the future, meld lost memories (even when the timeline is changed); it can even be used as a weapon. The limits of Chaos are virtually endless. It is believed that the primary attribute of Chaos is that it manipulates anything that comes into contact with it to either strengthen—or weaken—the subject, or simply bends the very fabric of reality. However, even though it has a great many benefits, if the Chaos is left unbound, it can turn the physical world into a timeless realm.

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An illusion of an individual is beset from the Chaos. 

Anyway, standing before Etro was Mwynn, being consumed by a large mass of Chaos (it is presumed she attempted to battle the Chaos, only to lose in the end). Confused, she approached her metaphorical mother, but is hastily stopped by her “mother”, whose presence is still very much alive. With what little strength she has left, Mwynn converses with Etro to warn her of the Chaos of Valhalla, and how the death of the Mortal Realm is not a curse, but, rather, was predestined by fate to be destroyed. Within the physical world lies endless Chaos, and knowing this, she instructed Etro to protect the balance of the two realms, for if the balance between the two realms was to be disrupted, the universe itself would collapse. Despite the important task presented before her, Etro was confused and unable to understand what exactly she had to do. But, before she could ask of this, Mwynn is consumed by the Chaos. Well, fuck. Someone grab the popcorn.

With Mwynn gone, Etro was alone in a dead realm. However, as bad as it looked, Etro now had a gift that neither Pulse nor Lindzei had: the power not to create, but to manipulate. She wondered the shores of Valhalla, and was suddenly struck with an affectionate passion with the humans that she helped give birth to, thanks to the Chaos of Valhalla allowing her to see the events happening in the present time. She felt a kind of compassion for them, and took pity on the humans, as they were born only to die. And then, she had an epiphany: She would implant the humans a fragment of Chaos by sending it through her newly accredited gate to the Mortal Realm, so that they could live a greatly increased span of time. So Lindzei gave life to humans from Etro’s blood, and Etro would give them a delicate item that would keep them alive for longer. Awww. You see that? Sisters that are sharing and caring will never let a thing come between them.

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Etro's Gate 

But there’s more reasoning behind her decision to give us this than just compassion. See, her reasoning behind this was that all living beings are bound by fate to die, and because all life must also procreate to keep their race from going extinct, it is this reason that gave her this idea. Human is born>Etro implants human with Chaos, removing it from Valhalla>human lives on>human eventually dies>vessel departs world with Chaos in tow>Chaos returns to Valhalla>cycle repeats, protecting the balance. However, should a great many lives perish at once, the gate would be left wide open, resulting in the Chaos of Valhalla to catastrophically evacuate her gate and into the Mortal Realm. It’s quite ironic that she killed herself to be given a purpose in life, but that purpose exists in a realm where only the dead exist.

And what is it that’s implanted inside all of us? Well, you know that big, squishy red organ that pumps blood throughout our entire body? Oh, what was it called? I know what it is, but it’s on the tip of my tongue. I can’t seem to get this thing off my chest.  I can’t think of it in a heartbeat. Oh wait. It’s the heart. Yup. Our hearts are manifestations of Chaos, and should we be able to fully embrace that Chaos within ourselves, we can harness the powers of Chaos mentioned earlier.

Back in the Mortal Realm, Pulse continued to shape the landscape to his liking, while Lindzei continued to stand guard over the world. In the intervening times, she constructed a lofty paradise for the Humans to live in. It was a massive, planet-like utopia that floats above the land her brother Pulse was forging. It would house both Humanity and the fal’Cie that Lindzei had created to shelter and nourish Humans from the dangers from the land below. This utopia was appropriately named Cocoon.

Eventually, the two absconded from the world entirely, never to be seen again. The land that Pulse crafted would later be known as Gran Pulse—or simply Pulse for the citizens of Cocoon. And Etro? Well, she would remain in Valhalla and would become the Goddess of the Dead—essentially, she is the Hades of the mythology.

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Welcome to Gran Pulse, kiddos

Front and Center!

Now, let’s get one thing straight before we continue: Most of what’s covered from here on out is all based on the plot of Final Fantasy XIII. While a couple of these are in the general mythology, the characteristics of the elements are appropriately changed in Type-0 and XV.

Alright, let’s rewind a bit to put some things into perspective, since we spent a lot of quality time with Etro. While she was busy harming herself, Lindzei and Pulse would begin creating their instruments of servitude and the descendants that would bring about a new dawn for civilization to prosper.

It is unclear as to which they began creating first, but for the sake of it, we’ll start with the fal’Cie, since they’re alphabetically first in here. Oh, and for those die-hard Final Fantasy fans out there, you may recognize some of these names.

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Anima

Pulse fal’Cie, served as a patron for the village of Oerba, tasked to protect the village from wildlife outside its walls.

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Atomos

Pulse fal’Cie, tasked to dig tunnels in the Mah’habara Subterra, though its true motives are unknown; many citizens of Gran Pulse believe it is searching for something important; has a hollow interior that doubles as a means of travel for the humans.

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Barthandelus

Cocoon/Sanctum fal’Cie, Lord-Sovereign of the Cocoon fal’Cie.

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Bismark

Pulse fal’Cie, aquatic, tasked to reshape the landscape through water erosion in the Sulyya Springs; aggressively defends territory through indirect means of eliminating trespassers.

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Cactuar

Pulse fal’Cie, no apparent task affiliated with Cactuar; anomaly. (Image used is not the fal’Cie Cactuar; it is currently being used as a placeholder until a proper identification is revealed.)

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Carbuncle

Cocoon/Sanctum fal’Cie, supplies food for all life on Cocoon, oversees a process of ultra-efficient hydroponic farming employing mobile paddies and careful regulation of light and water; resides in the Nutriculture Complex underneath Palumpolum.

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Dahaka

Pulse fal’Cie, aerial, tasked to search for the gate to the Unseen Realm; attacks anything that approaches his abode in Taejin’s Tower.

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Eden

Cocoon/Sanctum fal’Cie, unique in that its form is a building and cannot move freely; responsible for monitoring all functions of Cocoon, including the administration and security, and the operations that keep Cocoon in the sky; serves as a collective nexus for each fal’Cie in directing their power in sustaining Cocoon; only known fal’Cie that can directly speak to humans; opinions and decisions are counted upon by the Sanctum officials; due to the untold amount of energy needed to handle all operations, most of Eden’s power is siphoned from Orphan; should either Eden or Orphan be destroyed, all life on Cocoon would cataclysmically end.

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Fenrir

Pulse fal’Cie, aerial, largest Pulse fal’Cie ever made (about the size of a small moon), shares a similar task to Dahaka; casts massive, century long eclipses to search for the door to the Unseen Realm.

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Kujata

Cocoon/Sanctum fal’Cie, supplies electricity to run every major city on Cocoon; resides at the Euride Gorge power plant, which serves not only as a power plant to channel Kujata’s power to the populous, but also as a tourist attraction.

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Leviathan

Cocoon/Sanctum fal’Cie, responsible for the provision of purified water.

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Orphan

Cocoon/Sanctum fal’Cie, responsible for keeping Cocoon aloft over Gran Pulse; mostly remains asleep inside Orphan’s Cradle, a realm within Eden; serves as fuel for Eden’s multitasking capabilities.

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Palamecia

Cocoon/Sanctum fal'Cie, aerial, modified by the Sanctum military to serve as a base and flagship for the Sanctum Skyfleet, anti-Pulse juggernaut vessel designed to prevent any potential Pulse invaders from breaching Cocoon, outfitted with the latest military technology.

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Phoenix

Cocoon/Sanctum fal’Cie, aerial, responsible for the climate and weather of Cocoon, figurative light in the sky; subordinate fal’Cie within Phoenix maintain and regulate patterns of wind and precipitation.

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Protera

Cocoon/Sanctum fal’Cie, responsible for the protection of Cocoon as a shield.

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Siren

Cocoon/Sanctum fal’Cie, no apparent task affiliated with Siren.

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Titan

Pulse fal’Cie, massive humanoid biogenitor, tasked to oversee and protect the vista of Gran Pulse’s ecosystem; consumes weaker species and gives birth to new ones to prevent ecological stagnation; capable of subtly manipulating the landscape through biological cycles and the introduction of new, more powerful species.

Speaking of Difficult to Pronounce Words…

They then had one brilliant idea, one that could turn any lesser entity into their own pawns of destruction, slaves to the fal’Cie’s bidding. They had one very special power that they could use for this purpose: the powers to enslave. Uh oh. I get the feeling this is some kind of retrospective in the works. They had the powers to take pawns of lesser stature (i.e. animals, and eventually humans), and turn them into what they called l’Cie [lə·sē].

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An individual discovering their newfound powers as a l’Cie.

When an individual is selected to be a l’Cie, they are first branded with a mark, known as an Eidolith, a crystal shard, somewhere on the body signifying the “faction” they are affiliated with, whether they’ve been branded by a Pulse fal’Cie, or a Cocoon fal’Cie. Contrary to popular belief, it is the gods Pulse and Lindzei that do the actual branding, not the subordinate fal’Cie that the two deities created; the fal’Cie simply choose who they want branded, and then the branding commences. These brands gift them with incredible magical powers and inhuman physical capabilities beyond their wildest imaginations—and can continue to develop in strength through the crystal their brand holds. It is also the source of all the magic they can wield. They are also given a Focus, a task handed to them by their fal’Cie master. The tasks in question are extremely vague, terse, and appear as images inside one’s head; the vision is only showed once. It isn’t simply spelled out on a silver platter. The Focus can range from slaying a very powerful monster, to protecting the world from any who attempts to destroy it.

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The stages of Cocoon and Pulse l’Cie brands, respectively.

The brand of a l’Cie is generally black as tar, but it can turn white at one given moment, indicating that they are defying and changing the fal’Cie-given Focus. But to do this, you might as well take on a pack of Mountain Lions with a twig, because it is extremely hard to pull off—and consecutively do at the same time. When this happens, the l’Cie’s advancement is halted and is no longer in danger of failing their Focus. But the state is only temporary and dependent on how long they can defy their Focus. The brand will, eventually, return to its black form, putting the l’Cie in danger once more.

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A l’Cie with a white Brand.

According to legend, should a l’Cie complete their Focus, they are gifted with eternal life, and turn to crystal. When they are encased in the crystal, they do not age, which means that they are given a kind of “eternal youth” as a reward. Sadly, it’s not as amazing as you’d think it to be. They remain in crystal stasis until the fal’Cie decide to awaken them to carry out another task for them. While some view this as enslavement, many l’Cie embrace it as a form of immortality for each Focus they complete—that is, until they fail to complete a Focus.

And what should happen if you fail to achieve your Focus? It’s nothing too terrible. First, you die, and then you transform into an abomination called a Cie’th. And the best part? The form your body transforms into will change depending on how much you attempted to defy your Focus. For many, the fate of a l’Cie is often equated as a death sentence, no matter what you do. Hurray for conflicting choices!!

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KILL IT! KILL IT WITH FIRE!!

As l’Cie, the mental and emotional wellbeing of the individual is critical, because if the l’Cie in question is mentally unstable or conflicted, it shortens the l’Cie’s time to complete their Focus. Should the l’Cie abandon all hope and fall into despair, Etro can intervene and bring forth an Eidolon that she herself forged as salvation for them, where they must fight their emotions and earn the Eidolon’s allegiance, or die by their hand. Once the l’Cie is able to conquer their emotional folly, they can summon the Eidolon during their finest hour at any time.

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A l’Cie summons the Eidolon Ramuh. Judgment Bolt!

The First World War

Six centuries after Cocoon was constructed, and six hundred years before the events of the first game (we’re getting close to the first game, I promise), humanity is well established in the world, and the technology for each is still primitive at best—nowhere close to what we have now in the real world. The citizens of Gran Pulse have always been terrified of an invasion from Cocoon, and have long since prepared for that day.

The fal’Cie of Gran Pulse constructed Arks, floating armories that housed an unquantifiable amount of weapons to train l’Cie to become strong enough to achieve their Focus, and to combat anything that would attack Gran Pulse. Each Ark possesses an item known as a Graviton Core that enables the Arks to stay afloat in the sky. These Arks have been known to be so secretive, not even the residents of Pulse know their whereabouts. Some are even stowed away inside Cocoon’s walls.

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An Ark floating high above.

The humans, on the other hand, built armies of war machines with immense strength and durability that were capable of taking on a fal’Cie even when half-destroyed. However, they were designed as land defense, not as a means to take the offensive to the skies.

On one fateful day, that fear of being invaded became a reality. A Cocoon fal’Cie left the floating utopia and desecrated the land for resources. In the process of doing so, the fal’Cie slaughtered tens of thousands of lives while it was gathering resources. I didn’t realize MineCraft could cause violence of unprecedented levels. Food. Land. Metal. Water. You name it; it was taken from Gran Pulse.

Witnessing the terrifying events were two girls who would play a structural role in the plot of the story—and are the first two protagonists of the games that we get to talk about: Oerba Yun Fang, and Oerba Dia Vanille. The latter is still considered a child, while the other has already reached adulthood.

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At this point, war is inevitable, and Cocoon inadvertently fired off the first shot. Gran Pulse knows this and prepares for an assault on Cocoon. The fal’Cie gather the weapons from the Arks. They also prepare to send forth l’Cie to destroy Cocoon. This was essentially World War II on a much larger scale. And what was the name of this war? I mean, surely there has to be a name for a massive war, since all wars have one to begin with. This war was appropriately named: The War of Transgression.

Back in the village of Oerba [âr·bə], an ensemble of priests escorted the two women inside Anima to grant them their first Focus. Yes, I said they went inside—the image of him a while back is just his vestige. Feeling worried about Vanille, Fang tells her that she will take on the Focus, while Vanille stays out of it. They eventually reach the inner “heart” of Anima—where the real fal’Cie is located. There, Fang approaches the fal’Cie and proceeds to insult it for being too lazy to not take every single Pulse fal’Cie and destroying Cocoon in one fell swoop. You go, girl!! But those priests didn’t like her tone and attempted to shut her up, but they were no match for her Disarm-Repel-and-Kick-Ass style, even stabbing one of them in the chest with their own spear.

Eventually, she is subdued and are ready to silence her for good, when Vanille burst through and ordered them to make the two of them l’Cie. Fang did not like her recklessness one bit, but it was either that, or she would die. So she accepts that there’s no way to avoid dragging her into this mess. They accept her offer and the two are branded. Their Focus: Transform into Ragnarok and destroy the fal’Cie Orphan, thus sending Cocoon crashing into the ground, killing everyone inside. That’s right. They have to transform into Ragnarok. Ragna-fucking-rok. But, being the widdle puddy tat that she was, Vanille was terrified of the beast’s power and ran, leaving the Focus entirely up to Fang.

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Ragnarok ANGRY!!!

Now, let’s set the stage for this war. In the right corner: Gran Pulse. And in the left corner: Cocoon. Imagine the Invasion of Normandy, but with a couple of differences:

1.     Unlike the Invasion of Normandy, where it took place on the shores, the invaders had to fly up to Cocoon and breach Protera’s shield to pave the way for Fang to find and destroy Orphan, all while Cocoon’s fal’Cie and l’Cie held them off in the process—Orphan isn’t going to lower Cocoon and say, “Come on in! The water’s great!”

2.     It’s not just humans who fought this war; it was also their Eidolons and even some of the fal’Cie from their respective kingdoms.

Fang takes on Ragnarok’s incomplete form and takes to the skies. With the inner hatred of Cocoon after the fal’Cie laid waste to her home, she reached Cocoon’s shell with little resistance and obliterated a large portion of the shield that protected Cocoon. In fact, the damage was so tremendous, a massive crater from the impact still remains all the way past the events of the first game.

At this point, Cocoon was left wide open for an invasion, and the person who would destroy Cocoon was ready to end it. But, seeing that this would kill everyone inside Cocoon and disrupt the natural order, Etro intervened and used her Chaos to manipulate both Fang and Vanille’s Focus to make it appear as if they had fulfilled it, resulting in their immanent crystallization. Their crystallized forms are eventually brought inside the Pulse Vestige of Anima to honor their valiant efforts in the war.

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Wow. What a hole.

The war continued long after they were crystallized, but the fight—and the war—quickly ended after Cocoon’s fal’Cie besieged Gran Pulse and the invaders attempting to make it inside. Most of the Pulse l’Cie that attempted to breach Cocoon’s defenses either died during the invasion, or ended up as Cie’th in the end; most of everyone else was fed to the wildlife of Gran Pulse. Yeah… and here I thought the Anglo-Zanzibar War was the shortest war ever fought.

The damage to Cocoon was so great, the fal’Cie of Cocoon surreptitiously left to loot and pillage material to repair the damage from the war. After the war was over, the Sanctum, Cocoon's government, forbade anyone except the fal'Cie to leave Cocoon. At one point, Barthandelus ordered the fal’Cie to grab a certain artifact from Gran Pulse as resources for the reconstruction of Cocoon. But, unbeknownst to him, what he grabbed was actually Anima—a catalyst he would use to formulate a devious plot alongside Orphan, though that’s for later. After the war, the Cocoon populous grew a deep and revulsive fear of Gran Pulse, which lasts for the next 600 years, eventually leading up to the first game. Speaking of which.

Are We There Yet?

Yes, I know I said we would reach the start of the first game, but before we do, we have a message from our good friend in Hell.

Before we continue, we have to go back before the events of the War of Transgression, which I’ll explain why in a bit. Yay for backtracking!! You remember Yeul from earlier? Well, you see, she was made into a Farseer, an individual that is gifted the powers to see into the future, and can see any changes to the timeline, thanks to a special gift from Etro when she first died. She was only a child when she first died, and when she entered Valhalla, her soul never faded from existence, unlike other souls. Etro, taking pity on her, sent her soul back into the Mortal Realm so that she wasn’t lonely in Valhalla. As cute as it sounds, this was actually the first mistake Etro made that would lead to her demise.

“But”, I hear you saying, “I thought we were going to read about how Yeul gained the powers to see the future?” Well, when Etro sent her soul back into the Mortal Realm, Yeul was given the Eyes of Etro as a side effect of being reborn. She has special eyes… And no, Etro didn’t pluck her eyes out and planted them into Yeul’s eye sockets. The Eyes of Etro are special, in a bad way, because it shortens the life of the individual whenever they look into the future. That’s a bit… cruel, don’t you think, Etro? This would eventually lead to a certain someone taking up arms against Etro.

They all die at a relatively young age (between 14-17 years of age), and are then reborn once more among the Farseers. They happen to have a lot of Phoenix Downs on them. When the Farseer dies, they are reborn in the same image as the last, no matter what. That image of Yeul from way back in the beginning of the Sitrep? That’s how all of them will look. Have I been saying “they” and “them” a lot? That’s because there can be more than one Yeul in existence at the same time. Despite the similarity, each individual Yeul have their own unique quirks, interests, and hobbies.

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Ooh. Shiny.

Now, I hear you saying, “Well, if they can see the future, surely they can also see their own death, right?” They can, but they are forbidden to change their fate in any way, as it would cause the universe to implode upon itself. Actually, an event will occur that would result in the destruction of thousands of lives—a fate worse than the death of a single Farseer. Also, when Yeul learned how to see into the future, she was forced to “walk the path of a seeress” (seeress is just another way of saying Farseer), where she was isolated from everyone in her own village for fear that people would exploit her powers for malicious intents. Even her parents never spoke to her to keep her from learning to speak as to postpone her fate. Talk about a rough childhood.

For the safety of the seeress, they are appointed with a Guardian, or a bodyguard, to keep them safe from anyone and anything that might pose a threat to the seeress. Guardians are also tasked to recall every prophecy each Farseer sees before they are claimed by the Eyes of Etro. At the time, one of Yeul’s former Guardians was a woman named Gorgyra [gȯr·jirə], who was tricked by an enemy, which almost caused the seeress to be killed. She managed to drive the fiend away, but it didn’t change the fact that she failed in her duty to protect the seeress. Now, the seeress loved her like a sister, and forgave her. But Gorgyra did not, and as punishment, she asked her fal’Cie master to turn her into a Cie’th. All these feels, man.

So, I mentioned earlier that we had to start this before the events of the War of Transgression. That’s because Yeul was the one who prophesized the war and the actual outcome of the battle. She also prophesized a certain event, but we’ll get to that in a sec. Now, her real name is Paddra Nsu-Yeul, which tips off one key aspect: Her name is in order of what village she’s from, her clan, and her first name. So, we’re now going to talk about the village of Paddra, the largest and most prosperous city on Gran Pulse. Located in the southern region of Gran Pulse known as the Yaschas Massif, the village of Paddra was an advanced culture existing long before the War of Transgression, but the civilization wasn’t fully created until thirty years after the war ended.

Early in the development of Paddra’s civilization, a time-eating monster named Ugallu attempted to attack the village. All of the village’s strongest warriors were unable to take on the beast. Forced to go against her vows as a seeress, Yeul sealed the beast inside the Void Beyond, a realm that lies between the Mortal Realm and Valhalla.

Paddra was also the home of the Farseers, and was ruled by Paddra Nsu-Yeul. Whodathunkit? And their patron deity was? Wait for it. Wait for it. Etro. Whodathunkit x2. It was also home to a special device known as an Oracle Drive, a recording apparatus created by the Farseers that allows one to transfer their memories into the device, archiving it for later generations. In ancient times (basically during the time we’re reading up on), the seeress would transfer her visions of the future into the Oracle Drive. It served as prophecies for future generations to find. Essentially, Yeul is the USB flash drive, while the Oracle Drive is the computer.

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 Oracle Drive

Inside each Oracle Drive contains within it a Fragment, a small crystal containing small cashes of information that allows one to store their memories. It resonates with the thoughts of anyone in the vicinity of the crystal and reconstructs them. Then, when one uses the Fragment, it is projected into an image. If someone were to think of something in their past, all while injecting a great amount of energy into the crystal, the individual can trap the images inside their head.

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Oh, and then there was this guy named Caius Ballad. He was the Ballad of Gay Caius. Har har har. Jokes aside, he’s pretty damn intimidating, I’ll give you that much. He lived before the War of Transgression, and was even hailed as a hero amongst Paddra legend for his countless victories, and claimed the lives of thousands of enemies that stood before him. He was made a Pulse l’Cie after he killed the former Guardian of the seeress, and became the new Guardian because of it. He’s also a member of the Farseers, so he was given special privileges that no ordinary individual could receive.

One day, he challenged a fellow warrior of the Farseers to an honorable duel. Unbeknownst to him, the warrior’s strength was beyond the limit of 9000. Caius was getting his ass handed to him in the battle, as he was driven back further and further until it was only a matter of time before the warrior would land the final blow. But suddenly, an enemy army invaded Paddra in search of the seeress. Shifting attention from the duel, the warrior charged the army head on to protect the seeress at all costs, ultimately sacrificing himself to save Yeul. SACRIFICEALITY!

But his sacrifice was in vain, as the army continued to march onward towards Yeul. Caius would later take the warrior’s name to honor his sacrifice to the seeress. Desperate to protect her from the invading army, Caius performed an incarnate summon that allowed him to take on the form of an Eidolon. This type of magic was forbidden in the village, as it killed the summoner in the process. Now, this is the part where Etro might have saved herself from being killed. But, sadly, the story must go on. Etro, seeing the events unfold, was so motivated from his commitment to the safety of the seeress, she freed him from the shackles of a l’Cie and infused her own heart, the Heart of Chaos, which grants the individual immortality and stops the progression of aging, into his body. The only major downside is that it’s a two-edged sword: If the heart is destroyed, both Etro and the individual with the Heart of Chaos are killed in the process. Another nifty aspect of the Heart of Chaos is that it allows him to transform into the Eidolon he summoned. Can you guess which Eidolon it was? You’ll never guess. It was the greatest summon of them all: Bahamut!!

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That doesn’t look normal.

To Etro, the act was nothing more than benevolence to her. But, to Caius, he would later realize that it was a curse. I don’t need to explain why that is, but I will anyway. See, he’s still tasked to protect Yeul at all times, even though he’s no longer a l’Cie, and because he’s immortal, he must guard her forever. But, here’s the worst part: Because Yeul is gifted with the Eyes of Etro, he has to protect someone that is bound by Etro’s hand to die, and there is nothing he can do to stop it; he has to witness her death happen FOREVER. Etro, you’re a complete douche bag, you know that? Seeing Yeul die countless deaths took a toll on him, and it drove him mad. He declared that he would slay the goddess if it’s the last thing he does. Throughout his life, he sought after an individual strong enough to destroy the Heart of Chaos inside him to free himself from his immortality, along with the fate cast upon Yeul.

So, I mentioned earlier that Yeul prophesized a certain event. Well, many years later, when Paddra reached the height of civilization, she saw Fang and Vanille transform into Ragnarok, and the outcome of the war. She also foresaw the destruction of Paddra. A lot of people did not like that prophecy. Because of that, many people pancaked and tried to either change their destiny or fall into disarray. Eventually, in one of history’s greatest ironies, civil war broke out and led to the prophesized destruction of Paddra. Centuries later, scientists would discover that the citizens of Paddra stopped recording visions into the Oracle Drive. I wonder why that was… After the war ended, Caius and several other escorts took Yeul far away from the tribe of Paddra and out into the wilderness, never to be seen again.

THAT IS IT! That is the entire backstory of Fabula Nova Crystallis! Now that you know so much, go out and play the games. Last I heard, a used copy of both XIII and XIII-2 cost less than half of a new game. I’m not joking. XIII costs between $12-$15, while its sequel costs less than $20.

Click here to read Part 2.