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|“||In a sense, yes, but my aims extend beyond the boy. He's more of a means to an end. I suppose I never revealed my proper name, so allow me to introduce myself: Ardyn Lucis Caelum.||„|
|~ Ardyn Izunia|
Ardyn Izunia (real name: Ardyn Lucis Caelum) is the main antagonist of Final Fantasy XV. He is a shrewd, humorous and intellectual man who handles the political operations of the Niflheim Empire for Iedolas Aldercapt. He also appears in Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV as a major antagonist. He is responsible for the expansion of Verstael's Magitek Infantry, which he uses to increase Niflheim's might.
In Final Fantasy XV: The Dawn of the Future, Ardyn is shown in an anti-heroic light, with Bahamut being revealed to be the main villain of the game and its extended universe.
He was voiced by Keiji Fujiwara in the Japanese version, and Darin De Paul in the English version.
Ardyn is first encountered by Noctis and his companions at Galdin Quay. There, he behaves mysteriously and reveals to Noctis' group that the ferries are not running anymore. He also cryptically mentions that the ceasefire is not bringing them anything. Ardyn then hands Noctis a coin, calling it his "allowance". He then walks off, leaving the group with more questions than answers.
The group meets Ardyn again in Lestallum, where he once more perplexes them with his cryptic behavior. Ardyn claims that Noctis and his group should visit the Archaean, even offering to take them there. The group and Ardyn drive off towards the Archaean. While Ardyn drives before them, the group discuss Ardyn, agreeing that he is suspicious and might be unreliable. Ardyn eventually stops driving, claiming that they will not drive further anymore and instead make camp. The next day, Ardyn leads the group to the gate leading to the Archaean but then leaves the group.
After the group is forced to fight the Archaean, they are trapped on a platform amidst a lava lake. In the last moment, an imperial battleship arrives, opening its hangar and revealing Ardyn. Ardyn offers help to the trapped group, formally introducing himself as High Chancellor Ardyn Izunia. He promises Noctis and the group save passage and they reluctantly board the ship as they have no other choice. Ardyn indeed keeps his word and drops the group off afterwards, although the Empire wants Noctis dead.
Ardyn later appears in an Imperial base, breaking up a confrontation between Noctis and his friends, and Ravus. Ardyn and Ravus leave soon after, with Ardyn claiming that they have business with the Oracle Lunafreya.
As Noctis makes it to Altissia to reunite with Lunafreya but is needed to acquire the pact with the Astral God: Leviathan, an event that eventually proves to be nearly disastrous, Ardyn sneaks into the altar where Lunafreya resides and inflicts a fatal injury onto her to ensure that she would not survive the trial.
Later, when the party is bound for the last of the Lucian Royal Tombs and the Imperial Capital via train, Ardyn makes an appearance to a grieving Noctis, hoping to "explain" himself, but Noctis' bereavement turned into rage, as well as the intercepting Imperial forces cut their conversation short. After Noctis and Prompto hold off the assault and manage to get the train into more peaceful straights, Ardyn tricks Noctis via illusion to mistakenly attack Prompto, knocking him off of the train. Delighted to have demoralized Noctis, he then pistol-whips him unconscious as the train continues its journey.
When the remaining party continue on after a crucial layover into Tenebrae following an increase in daemonic activity, they eventually get to the corpse of the Astral Shiva, the Glacean, whose very presence as a cadaver has plunged the outskirts of Niflheim into a frozen wasteland. Ardyn makes his way back onto their departing train to discuss terms with Noctis again; however, having lost Prompto and having enough of his trickery incites further indignation from Noctis. With their train later delayed due to daemons and the build-up of ice on the tracks, Ardyn then makes his way back to Ignis' and Gladiolus' rail car, having let in the freezing conditions into the train. Knocking both out as the temperature decreases further, Ardyn goes in for the kill as Noctis also freezes, but is intercepted by the presence of Gentania, who instantly freezes Ardyn with a simple touch, and reveals herself to Noctis as the reincarnation of Shiva, giving onto him her pact and the Trident of the Oracle, the weapon of his late fiancee. With Ardyn frozen helpless, Noctis then shatters him to bits, but not long before he returns in spirit to let Noctis knows he still lives.
Making his way back to Graelea, the Imperial Capital, Ardyn gathers up the remaining troops of Niflheim to halt the party's inbound train head on and activates the Wallbreaker to subdue Noctis' powers. As Noctis is separated from Ignis and Gladiolus in the aftermath of their race to cover distance into Graelea proper to clear the city's closing defenses, Ardyn stands from afar, monitors, and taunts as Noctis is forced to go alone and nearly helpless into the heart of the Niflheim Empire, Zenebrath Fortress. Having set up traps and with all of Graelea's populace tainted into daemons, Ardyn's ploy is nearly successful, until Ignis and Gladiolus manage to rescue the Prince when he is caught in a trap.
When the group rescues Prompto from Zenebrath's prison and makes their way further to reclaim the Crystal, Ardyn then sics upon them the demonized corpse of Ravus, and following Ravus' euthanization, a lockdown sequence further aggravated with a destructive onslaught of daemons, forcing Noctis again to separate himself from his companions, who stay behind to fend off the daemons for him to reclaim the Crystal as its rightful heir as king to use it to ultimately banish them and the Starscourge forever.
However, as Noctis makes his way to reclaim the Crystal, he is unknowingly forced into its realm. Struggling to remain in reality and to exist materially to stop the Starscourge before its threat can fully be realized onto Eos, Ardyn reveals himself during Noctis' struggle, recanting onto him a story of a healer whose actions saw him fall from the grace of the Astrals because of his methods to eradicate the Starscourge, and was further demonized by his people by a jealous forerunner to become king. Revealing to Noctis the sins of the Lucian family that now has accursed both the world of Eos and its people, Ardyn then reveals himself in full as that very ancestor, who now reigns as Noctis is fully taken into the depths of the Crystal.
With the rest of the party, having defeated the daemons and coming too late to Noctis' refuge, they demand an explanation of what Ardyn has done to their friend, who simply mocks and leaves them in silence. In frustration and outrage in return, Gladious slashes at his jugular and Prompto shoots Ardyn in the back in the heart, both of which do nothing but get him to stand back up and shed the blood of daemons. With Noctis now gone, Ardyn unleashes the full extent of the Starscourge upon the world and creates thousands of Daemons that wreak havoc everywhere in Eos, essentially plunging the world into a nightmarish state of utter darkness and terror with the Starscourge now completely covering the planet. He himself takes residence in the Citadel, practically becoming the new "King" of Lucis as the sole inhabitant there, and moves the Crystal to the Throne Room. While he lets the world fall into chaos, Ardyn never leaves the throne room and directly attacks the humans, instead patiently waiting there all along for Noctis to arrive.
After 10 years, Ardyn is finally able to begin his last stand as Noctis finally wakes and comes with his retinue to challenge Ardyn. Ardyn mocks them regarding how Lucis is now his kingdom and Insomnia is under his rule before bombarding the city with meteorites to wreak devastation before revealing he has erected the Wall around the Citadel, all just to mock Noctis on Regis' sacrifice, and he is quick to rage when Noctis furiously calls him sick. He leaves them to deal with the Daemons he has created and also the Behemoth King, but thanks to Cor and Luna as well as the Astrals, they are able to overcome it. Barely bothered, Ardyn sicks upon them the God of Fire Ifrit, who he had resurrected and corrupted, only for the Astrals to once again aid Noctis. Greatly excited, Ardyn projects his voice around the Citadel and reveals the Rulers of Yore will be their next opponent. When he finally comes face-to-face with the True King, Ardyn finally lets out his eagerness at finally being able to eradicate the Lucis Caelum bloodline and die as he confronts Noctis with the illusionary bodies of Regis, Nyx, Lunafreya and Iedolas grotesquely displayed for his own amusement. He is quickly enraged when Noctis coldly told him a jester, stepping on the throne he was sitting in before revealing his deep desire for his goals to come true. Ardyn then knocks out all of Noctis' friends, casually dismissing them as death weights to Noctis, and tells him to meet him in the streets to begin their final battle.
The duel was well-matched, Ardyn's own immense powers and far greater experience allowing him to effectively counter Noctis' greatly increased powers and prowess but he could not decisively defeat Noctis as they continue to fight to a stalemate. Repeatedly taunting Noctis as well as implying that the world will only be for worse if the dawn is to break, Ardyn eventually seemingly wins the first round and catches him off-guard. Having actually intended to die, Ardyn releases Noctis after goading him into using the power of light. The two engage in a fierce Armiger duel, which ends in Noctis barely overpowering Ardyn by blasting all his weapons at him.
Still standing, Ardyn lashes out in rage as he reveals how impudent it is for Noctis to believe that just because he has spent 10 years in the Crystal means he can surpass him, also raging on how Noctis failed to save his most precious loved ones and his belief that the Crystal is merely using Noctis and all the rulers of yore. However, his rage clouds his fighting and although not going down easily, Noctis defeats Ardyn eventually by striking him with all the Royal Arms.
Unfazed by his death, having always intended to die, Ardyn asks Noctis calmly on his decisions to save the world and genuinely smiles when Noctis shows his sympathy for Ardyn's restless torment and tells him to forever be at peace, saying he will await him in the beyond. Indeed, Ardyn is seen calmly waiting patiently for Noctis to come in the realm he was sent in. When Noctis comes, Ardyn smiles and bows to him in respect. Lunafreya weakens him and Noctis unleashes the full power of the Providence upon Ardyn by having all the Kings of Lucis strike Ardyn, finally destroying him for good.
Having finally truly died, Ardyn finally completely fulfilled his goals, as his death allows him to rest while Noctis also dying fully eradicates the Lucian bloodline. With the Starscourge fully purged from his soul, which also eliminates the Scourge entirely from Eos and the sun rises once again, Ardyn enters the afterlife, finally granted the peace he has wanted for so long.
Ardyn is revealed to have attacked Ignis and Ravus and tries to get Ignis to join him by threatening Noctis falsely. In the first version, Ignis, to Ardyn's shock, gains the power of the Ring of the Lucii, which earns him some of Ardyn's respect, acknowledging tauntingly that Ignis had proven to be worthy, before fighting him. Ardyn, although having the capability to defeat Ignis, could not reveal his true powers and after Ignis loses his enhanced power, leaves out of possible respect for Ignis' hard work as it doesn't hinder his plans at all. It is also shown that Ardyn gives the now blind Ignis a mocking smile after Noctis becomes King in order to gloat on how he wasn't able to save his king.
In Verse 2, it is revealed that Ardyn wanted Ignis to be used as a trap for Noctis in order to force him to gain the power of the Crystal. He effortlessly overpowers Ignis but to his shock, Ignis gains the power of the Ring and disintegrates his body but Ardyn merely gloats that he would inevitably return and fulfil his plans. Ardyn resided in Insomnia for years until Noctis woke and alongside Ravus, the party destroyed Ardyn but Noctis was able to elude death due to Ignis' secret plan.
Ardyn appears in the DLC as one of the main antagonists. He kidnaps Prompto and brings him to Niflheim's First Magitek Production Facility run by Verstael Besithia and reveals this is Prompto's birthplace. After returning Prompto's gun and cryptically hinting at his past, Ardyn encourages him to seek out Verstael. Tape recordings scattered throughout the facility reveal that Ardyn helped Verstael create the magitek infantry, and Verstael credits Ardyn's cooperation for developing a way for him to transfer one's ego and consciousness into a magitek armor. Prompto learns that he is a clone created by Verstael. Confronting a mutating Verstael, Prompto kills him and Ardyn taunts him about his patricide over the speaker system. Prompto later enters an illusion where he is hunted by Noctis while appearing as an MT, likely an illusion conjured by Ardyn. After Prompto and Aranea defeat Verstael's magitek incarnation, with Prompto going to Gralea, Ardyn smiles evilly as he sings Victory Fanfare, showing that he had planned for the Immortalis to be defeated and Prompto to go to Gralea while Noctis and his retinue are behind him in order to ensure Prompto would indeed be held captive in Gralea, further ensuring Noctis would go to the stronghold of the Nifleheim Empire and acquire the Crystal, which he knew full well would absorb him.
Episode Ardyn Prologue
In this episode, it is revealed the full extent of Ardyn's past. He was once a noble and idealistic healer and had a relationship with the first Oracle but all fell apart when Somnus was notified of Ardyn's corruption and chosen to be King by the Gods. Ardyn was lured into a trap by his brother and his corruption was revealed to the populace, although he was able to keep himself from showing it. Somnus duels Ardyn and although Ardyn initially outfought Somnus, he lost the battle when Somnus surprised him, warp-striking to the spear he caught and stabbing him. Accidentally Area died and Ardyn's rage transformed him completely as Somnus regrets Aera's death and laments Ardyn's change. The Chrystal confirms Somnus was chosen over Ardyn because Ardyn was unworthy by repelling him and Ardyn finally is forced to accept the truth just as Somnus executes Ardyn, leaving his corpse impaled with the blade as his younger brother mournfully and sadly oversees the rise of the sun. However, Ardyn's immortality made him unable to die and Somnus was forced to imprison Ardyn in Angelgard for 2 millennia while all traces of Ardyn were erased from Lucis' history and his brother ascended to the throne. Later Ardyn grows to hate his bloodline. As the anime ends, Ardyn is shown sitting in the throne of Lucis, having reminisced of his past, and smiles evilly as he proclaims he is waiting for Noctis.
In this DLC episode, Ardyn is the main character.
2000 years after he was sealed away in Angelgard, Ardyn was freed by Verstael, who found him using his knowledge of the myth of Adagium, the monster Ardyn was called after he was erased from history, and although at first refusing to accept Verstael's offer of an alliance to destroy Lucis, he ultimately fully abandoned any and all sorts of morality after being pushed to the breaking point by hallucinations of Somnus and Aera, daemonifying Ifrit.
Ardyn attacked Insomnia during the Founder King's Festival to aid Nifleheim, destroying all the Wall amplifiers, until he decided to abandon their alliance as Regis could summon Somnus' spirit so Ardyn could personally kill him, a plan that worked as Somnus did appear, called upon by Ardyn's threats of killing Regis after having outmatched the reigning King of Lucis. Although finally defeating Somnus, Ardyn was once again pushed to the deepest of his rage as Somnus repeatedly stated what he did was not out of the jealousy he had for Ardyn even though he admitted such feelings existed but to protect the kingdom their predecessors had fought with everything to protect and when Somnus asked for Ardyn to understand the necessity of his tragedy, Ardyn furiously lashed out at his brother, saying he had no right as he took everything from him, but Somnus vanished after a genuine prayer for Ardyn's soul to find peace.
Before he could lash out at the unconscious and beaten Regis, Bahamut arrives and reveals that Ardyn could find peace and complete what he had started before by allowing himself to be destroyed by the True King, which will also grant him the satisfaction of destroying his brother's lineage. With the temptation of his finding peace proving to be possible being great, further coupled with how Somnus' bloodline will end anyway, despite being bitter on how he was, in the end, nothing but a sacrificial lamb for the gods, Ardyn begrudgingly accepted and Bahamut leaves. He furiously demanded that Somnus and Aera tell him why wasn't he told the truth but despite all his desperate pleas, he received no response and he screamed in deep emotional anguish over the betrayal of the two people closest to him as he returns to the mortal world. Finding himself in Angelgard, Ardyn at first questioned whether he was alive or dead but then decided coldly that he no longer cared for anything but the fulfilment of his true death. As he began to walk away, he stated with ever-growing bitterness that both the kings of Lucis who he accursed and the "blessed Gods" were now nothing but a means to his end: both his revenge, starting with his plans to plunge and keep all of Eos trapped in the darkness of the Starscourge until he truly died, inflicting despair upon the people who ungratefully deemed him a monster after everything he had did, and true death and peace. He soon finds himself watching Somnus and Aera working together, immediately causing him to lash out when he reached them and cruelly kills them and laughs madly as he succumbs to the great feelings of betrayal and anger for how his service was for nothing but for him to become a sacrificial pawn and how Somnus and Aera knew the truth but kept it from him.
The final scenes show Ardyn walking back to Insomnia all the way from Gralea without using his powers, his face surprisingly grim until he sits on the throne of Lucis, at which point he relaxes and smiles evilly as he begins to wait for Noctis to return and plunges all of Eos to despair.
Dawn of the Future
In the novel epilogue to the Final Fantasy XV Universe, Ardyn chooses to defy Bahamut's "game of fate", thus events of Final Fantasy XV transpire as normal until the end of Chapter 13, where Noctis also chooses to fight fate(though it is now possible that the game's ending only happened as a dream sequence in Noctis' mind). As a result, Noctis learns the full truth of why Ardyn became evil and stops short of killing him during their final battle, giving him the Ring of the Lucii to go kill Bahamut in the heavenly plane with the very power the Draconian intended Noctis to use against Ardyn, while Noctis and the other Astrals destroy the treacherous dragon in the physical plane. By doing this, Ardyn finally fulfills his originally intended purpose as a savior and reunites with Aera in the afterlife.
2,000 years ago, Ardyn was a compassionate and idealistic man who tried to save Eos from Starscourge with his peaceful methods by healing all those he could who were infected despite knowing of the Starscourge's impact on him. Although his relationship with his brother had gotten strained over the years, he still cared for his brother enough to give him a chance to stand down. He also loved and showed affection to his fiancée Aera to the point that her death caused him to completely transform. He truly fell from grace after learning that the Crystal and the Gods had rejected him due to the taint he acquired from saving his people and chose Somnus for it and his imprisonment in Angelgard had left him with tremendous rage and hatred for Somnus and his bloodline. Initially, Ardyn still held on to the morals of his old persona, as he bitterly called himself a monster, acknowledging thus that he was unworthy at first. And although Somnus' actions were unforgivable, it was for the future of the people he sought to protect. He still didn't have the darkness needed to help Niflheim's despicable actions as well as to taint Ifrit, even expressing disgust at how the Empire killed Shiva.
However, hallucinations of Somnus's spirit taunting him and Aera being killed by his own hand ultimately made him become a twisted, evil, cold, vindictive, vengeful immortal, no longer caring for the people he once did everything he could to save and fully willing to destroy all of the Lucians for revenge. Although initially keeping a calmly mocking tone when revealing to all of Lucis their doom was near, when fighting Somnus personally, Ardyn expressed a tremendous, borderline-psychotic amount of rage at his remorseful brother when they fought and was utterly disgusted by how Somnus had the audacity to ask for forgiveness, utterly unwilling to understand the truth of his brother's actions.
His plans set back by the revelation of Bahamut, Ardyn reverted back to some of his old self's desires. Realizing that should he kill Regis or try to kill the True King, his only hope of achieving true death, as despite how far he had gone, he still, deep down, desired to find peace, but as he couldn't, he focused on getting revenge on the ones who cursed him with it. Ardyn reluctantly accepted his fate to be a sacrificial lamb and focused his next actions based solely on his desire to find peace. However, due to how dark he had become, with the revelation of having always been a pawn in the plans of the gods making him even more bitter, he became fully willing to do anything needed, no matter how immoral or cruel, without feeling remorse to finally ensure he could die and the Scourge be fully erased from the planet by ensuring he will battle and be destroyed by the True King once and for all and granted peace, which also gave him the satisfaction of exterminating Somnus' descendants. In addition, he coldly allows Eos to suffer and be clouded in darkness, leaving humanity fighting for survival, totally uncaring of their suffering, for several years, deeming it as an act of revenge for how the people he once cared for condemned him as a monster, showing not only did he came to resent his brother and his descendants but also came to be bitter at the lack of gratefulness of mankind of his previous services. Although acting for years as a loyal chancellor of the Nifleheim Empire, Ardyn never actually cared for it and the aid he had given for several years was merely for his cause and once he could finally die, it was merely disposable as he coldly allowed it to fall alongside the rest of the world. Even before his failed attempt to kill Regis, Ardyn merely saw his high authority over the empire and the Emperor himself as tools to use for his goals, ruthlessly causing it to fall into brief disarray and callously abandoning his alliance to fight Regis. After his decision to plan solely for his death, Ardyn took this to substantial levels without any hesitation, callously manipulating Aldercapt to the point of causing him to become a mere husk of his former self, having Verstael use children for his experiments of magitek infantry and presumably daemonifying the scientist and manipulating him as well. Although at first manipulated by the Nifleheim Empire, Ardyn ended up becoming the far, far greater evil as from the beginning he had known it was merely using him and instead of allowing himself to be a pawn, he made the Emperor and Verstael the pawns in his game instead.
Maintaining the façade of a polite and slightly flamboyant chancellor, even in the face of hostility, Ardyn remains charitable and civil, as evidenced by his first encounter with Noctis Lucis Caelum and company. Even with such a facade skillfully maintained, he shows his dark side by remaining unfazed by what would terrify others and his utter lack of empathy makes him fully willing to use the cruellest of methods to taunt his enemies. He has little fear due to his immortality making it near impossible to do anything but briefly stun him with attacks.
Although Ardyn was able to overcome his hatred towards the Lucian Caelum for the sake of his peace, he became deeply resentful towards Noctis as he resembled Somnus so much and quickly became provoked into making him suffer, bent on destroying him before allowing him to ascend, not wanting him to fulfill the prophecy until he had punished and tormented Noctis to a satisfiable level, first cruelly killing Luna, which he did in order to make Noctis feel the same pain he did when Somnus, despite knowing it was an accident, killed Aera and then separating Noctis from his friends, which he coldly taunted. Over time, Ardyn begins to display an increasing wrathful and spiteful side of himself, not only repeatedly taunting Noctis but actually lapsing on his usually serene attitude and raging over Noctis' lack of worthiness to show sympathy to him. He displays a sense of hypocrisy, as although he angrily tells Noctis on how he was unable to save his beloved and was not even aware his father was about to die as he played with his friends, all of the said actions were performed by Ardyn himself and he has no actual right to say it to Noctis.
In contrast to his previously destructive feelings towards Lucis, Ardyn showed fixation regarding his old kingdom, perhaps as the residual feelings of attachment to his kingdom had woken after he abandoned his plans to destroy the kingdom, as he seems to slightly lament the destruction of Insomnia and after managing to finally sit on the throne of Lucis, as he should have been, Ardyn is visibly pleased and he even brags on how he has taken over Insomnia to Noctis and calls Lucis his kingdom proudly. He also was provoked slightly when Noctis calls him a jester, immediately slamming his foot on the seat of the king, likely as it reminded him of how he was once denounced by Somnus for not being the true inheritor of the throne.
However, despite all his corruption, Ardyn showed at least he retained a fraction of the goodness he once had. Notably, although he was bitter at how the people he tried to save ungratefully condemned him as Adagium, he still didn't massacre all of humanity after having fulfilled his goals and instead patiently waited for Noctis to wake up, showing he didn't take his anger to levels where he wanted all humans exterminated. His desire of peace was ultimately greater than his desire for revenge, as despite his vows of killing the True King, rather than just killing Noctis when he didn't have that power, Ardyn instead manipulates the events for it to happen and even outright stated that he desired redemption that can only be known if Noctis became the True King. He even releases Noctis when he nearly beats him to allow him to kill him and showed satisfactory content in his death. His words that his goals lie beyond revenge and Noctis is a means-to-an-end further show that in the end, his death is the true extent of his plans. Ardyn had even seemed to come to be genuinely fond of Noctis but as a kindred spirit who had also suffered due to the greater good, actually being proud of his growth and openly praising him. After Noctis finally kills him, Ardyn accepted calmly he had lost after Noctis stabbed him the final time and merely questioned Noctis' decisions to save the world in his last moments, seemingly being content in having also all traces of him erased, and even accepting Noctis' sympathy ultimately with a smile. He finally bows to him in a manner that shows more respect than mockery upon meeting him in the afterlife.
In the end, Ardyn is truly a nihilistic man deeply broken by the betrayal of Somnus and the people he once cared for, the death of Aera and embittered by how all that he had did was nothing but to make him a sacrificial lamb for the sake of humanity, with this being the main reason for his dark humor and all his callous actions being solely to fulfil his revenge and find peace in death as the only purpose he had left. Due to this, not only Somnus, who had come to deeply regret everything he had did to Ardyn as his actions to stop Ardyn from bringing the world to ruin actually made Ardyn the monster he is now, but even Noctis, who had suffered the most from Ardyn's actions, came to sympathize with him, with Bahamut using his deep-rooted self-loathing and desire to die to his advantage by ensuring him that by fulfilling his calling and allowing him to be killed he would be able to find peace and fulfil his revenge. Although his actions were also to finish what he started and stop the Starscourge, the despicable deeds he had committed ensuring it happened with his death made him far from being the once heroic character Ardyn was, therefore marking him easily as the greatest threat in all of Eos but in the end he died in a bittersweet ending as a martyr, hated by all the humans he no longer cared for and cruelly condemned to suffer yet taking the main source of darkness of his world with him to destruction, a surprisingly deserved end for someone like him as differing from others of his level of darkness, he ultimately retained, even if only a small fraction, a part of his old goodness and died finding peace and with dignity successfully.
In an alternate series of events where Ardyn learns Bahamut was the one behind his suffering, he becomes so vengeful that he desired to destroy the Gods and Lucian Caelums. Although it is unclear what plans he would have regarding his immortality, his desire to die is shown by how he is unfazed that Bahamut's Teraflare will destroy the planet, even stating that he hopes to be killed as well, which he outright gloats to Luna as he refuses her offer of an alliance and is angered when she speaks of Aera's wish to save him. After seeing it personally, however, Ardyn chose to fight against Bahamut, even accepting, albeit reluctantly, that he will have to use the power that was meant to kill him and team up with Somnus and the bloodline he resented, even actually pleading to Somnus to do it and having him by his side as he vanquishes the War God. At his last moments, he does not revel in his victory despite having achieved death and killed the one truly responsible for his suffering but instead regains what remains of his noble personality, showing regret and remorse over all he had did and humbly accepting with lamentation that he will be either forgotten or hated by all for his sins and rekindles his love for Aera, asking only that she be with him in the afterlife. It was this last-minute redemption that ultimately earned him the recognition of Noctis as having redeemed himself and thus Noctis ensured Ardyn would be remembered.
- Ardyn and Somnus: Ardyn is Somnus' older brother. At first, during their childhood, they were actually close and Somnus looked up to Ardyn and Ardyn looked after his younger brother. However, they became estranged over the years due to their differing methods and this escalated after Somnus betrayed Ardyn by exposing his corruption, killing Aera and imprisoning him in Angelgard. This made Ardyn harbor nothing but immense rage and hatred for his younger brother in the present, who he deemed to have been jealous of him and relished the chance to take the throne from him and cast him into exile from how he treated during that time, unaware that Somnus was just trying to save the world. Ardyn's hatred for Somnus made him desire to wipe out the Lucis Caelum bloodline. Ardyn first encountered his brother again when he desecrated Insomnia, where he expresses tremendous anger that nearly reached psychotic levels towards Somnus and it reached the climax when Somnus pleaded for Ardyn to see the necessity of his tragedy. Ardyn also enslaved Somnus as a Lucii and had him fight Noctis and considering how he placed Somnus in the Hall of History, it was likely in order to particularly humiliate his younger brother. However, Somnus never actually resented his brother both as a human and Lucii and his actions against Ardyn were all for the greater good of Eos and he did feel remorse and guilt for his actions, which intensified over the years, and as a Lucii, when facing him in combat, despite Ardyn's drastic change, Somnus referred to him by 兄上 just as he always did and tried to reason with him and expressed his genuine regret and remorse for how his actions to save the world from Ardyn actually made him became a monster and prayed for his soul to find repose. In Dawn of the Future, however, Ardyn is reluctantly forced to accept that Somnus was never the one who had planned his suffering and he was just a pitiful pawn of Bahamut. He even reluctantly accepts Somnus's help as he needs him to agree to be granted the Ring of the Lucii to destroy Bahamut. Somnus's apologies appears to get to Ardyn somewhat, as he even calls out to him to finish it and has him by his side as he destroys Bahamut.
- Ardyn and Aera: Aera was Ardyn's only love and the only one who ever loved him as well as his fiancee. Ardyn kept in touch with her over the time he spent healing others and was absolutely devastated and angered by Aera's death to the point of finally transforming. Even over the years that made him the amoral monster hated and feared by almost all others, Aera remained the only person Ardyn never hated and he still remembered her at times. The main reason why he decided to seek revenge was to avenge her death but after learning the truth of how Aera knew about his destiny but kept it from him, he felt deeply betrayed and even envisioned himself ruthlessly killing her alongside Somnus. Due to her betrayal, Ardyn's feelings towards her became very complicated. He desired to end her bloodline because it reminded him of her betrayal but seeing and killing Luna, Aera's descendant, was the only time Ardyn showed a lack of cruelty for as Aera resembled her so much. In fact, he even appeared to consider her promise of redemption, as it reminded him that Aera also wanted him to find peace, before darkly leaving her to die, although from his lack of taunts, it was clear that he didn't feel much joy in it while he showed sadism towards Ravus, further indicating he deep down still loved her but was deeply bitter at her betrayal. In Dawn of the Future, after initially lamenting his sins will forever make him hated by the people, he is quickly put in peace by Aera's promise to remember him and asks for nothing more but her to be with him in death as he finally finds peace.
- Ardyn and Regis: Due to Regis being the reigning king of Lucis, Ardyn hated him for being the ruler of the nation his traitorous brother built and his relation to Somnus. They first met when Ardyn attacked Insomnia and breached the Citadel, where they duelled with Ardyn defeating Regis ultimately despite Regis putting up a good fight and ruthlessly beating him in order to make him summon the Old Wall of his brother, although he did express respect towards Regis's swordsmanship, saying he was more skilled with a blade than even Somnus. Later on, Ardyn tried to kill Regis after he wasn't able to kill Somnus in a rage. After learning his true destiny, Ardyn merely saw Regis as being a stepping stone for Noctis' ascension to the True King and the fulfilment of his true death and peace. He thus planned Niflheim's successful attempt on his life and personally brought the false treaty to the King in a mocking manner. Although Regis clearly recognized Ardyn as the monster he fought years ago and knew him to be the one Noctis must slay to stop the Scourge, he had no choice but to go along with him to fulfil the prophecy, henceforth Ardyn's plan is successful. Ardyn showed an utter lack of respect for Regis, coldly taunting Noctis with the Wall as it reminded him of Regis' sacrifice and even placing his corpse in front of the throne to further provoke Noctis.
- Ardyn and Noctis: Ardyn's relationship on Noctis, while stated by Ardyn himself that Noctis was merely a means-to-an-end, is one of the most complicated things in the Final Fantasy XV Universe. He clearly holds great spite and resentment at him, as he is a mirror image of his traitorous brother Somnus. While at first mockingly civil to him, he steadily shows an uncharacteristically colder and more vindictive side when talking with Noctis, as shown when he looked genuinely angry when referring to Noctis' shattering of his frozen body and later separating him from his friends as well as killing Luna in front of him, showing a strong desire to make him suffer. In their final battle, Ardyn shows an increasingly more wrathful and jealous side, with his mocks being laced with outright vindication and contempt and even lashing out openly. However, Ardyn appears to show what remained of his old reasonable side with Noctis, apparently seeing Noctis' struggles and his pain as proof that he was not like Somnus and like Ardyn suffered because of the whim of the Gods, and seems to see him as a kindred spirit of sorts. This is displayed by how he is openly proud of Noctis' growth at their final battle, actually praising him and acknowledging him as having grown to be worthy even if indirectly. Not only did he accept his death without showing resentment, humbly acknowledging he had been defeated by Noctis once and for all and seemingly resigned to being erased from history again, while initially angrily rebuffing Noctis' empathy, as he lays dying, Ardyn appears to have finally realized Noctis, like Somnus, truly sympathized with him and acknowledged and showed a level of gratitude for it, happily saying he will meet his descendant in the beyond. Before being defeated, Ardyn finally bowed to his descendant respectfully and gave him a genuine smile when he arrived in the afterlife. In Dawn of the Future, Ardyn, after being defeated but spared and seeing Noctis's desire to save him even after all he did, went as far as to admit his worth as the True King, despite showing outright irritation for it. Noctis also ensured Ardyn was acknowledged as the True Founder King, which the now deceased Ardyn would likely appreciate.
- Ardyn and Noctis' retinue: Ardyn has little to no regard for Noctis' friends, as none of them had any role in his goal to find peace and die. While he acts cordial and civil around them, once revealing his true persona, Ardyn ruthlessly uses them as parts of his vindictive manipulation to hurt Noctis. He also cruelly taunts them at times, as shown by how he mocked Prompto for his killing of his own creator and Ignis when he has Noctis pinned down. Although it seems Ardyn had a shred of respect for Ignis' undying loyalty and friendship to Noctis, as after he was deemed worthy to wield the Ring's power, Ardyn, even if mockingly, praised him for having earned the favor of the previous Lucian Kings. He also shows absolutely no respect for their status as Noctis' retinue, as he knocks them all out and casually dismisses it as being the fact that they are just dead weights for Noctis in his battle (in Ardyn's words, the Battle of Kings).
- Ardyn and Emperor Aldercapt: One of Ardyn's worst mechanizations was his twisting of the originally benevolent Emperor of Nifleheim into the obsessive and ruthless maniac he was. Aldercapt considered Ardyn his most capable subject and did not seem bothered by sightings of Ardyn's strange behavior. Ardyn shows no care for Aldercapt, twisting him into a powerful daemon and sicking him into the retinue. He proved his lack of care for Nifleheim by letting the nation fall callously and when Noctis came, Ardyn's lack of respect for his former superior was shown by the fact that he sadistically placed Aldercapt as one of the illusions he used for his amusement.
- Ardyn and the Gods: Ardyn once acted in the best interest of the Gods, using the power he was blessed with for their cause and revering them as the divine even after finding out they had abandoned him, trying to confirm it and later on still praying to the gods after being freed. He expresses utter disgust at Verstael for killing Shiva and bringing in Ifrit. However, ever since he decided to take revenge, Ardyn had forsaken the gods, with the only Astral he had any respect for being Ifrit, who he had tamed and trusted to take care of Lucis. He would soon lose any respect he retained for them after he learned the Gods only considered him a sacrificial lamb for the Scourge's extermination and although he agreed to do it, it was out of his desire to find peace and fulfil what Aera would have wanted rather than any actual loyalty towards the Gods. He cruelly mocked Shiva on how she had been killed by Nifleheim and even Ifrit was merely a pawn to him now, as he showed no regard for his defeat. In Dawn of the Future, where he learns the full extent of Bahamut's involvement, his hatred of the Gods reached it's apex, entirely surpassing his resentment for the Lucian Caelum, to the point where he vows to kill the Astrals as well and jumps on the chance to destroy Bahamut himself, even putting aside his grudge towards the Lucians and tolerate using Providence to destroy the War God and actually relishing that Bahamut's death will destroy all Gods.
Powers and Abilities
Up until the later parts of the game, Ardyn conceals his true capabilities very effectively under his light-hearted and frivolous mask, with his extraordinary intelligence that easily ranks as perhaps the greatest in the whole Final Fantasy series. This is most apparent by his exceptional manipulation, deceive and leadership capabilities, having such a strong charismatic capability in leading others that he effectively ruled Nifleheim more so than even the Emperor himself, which he achieved by completely outsmarting and manipulating the Emperor into desiring the Crystal and making him a mere husk of his former self. His tactical and strategical capabilities are unparalleled, allowing him to effortlessly come up with constantly successful plans and even if such plans fail, he always has backup plans, therefore always succeeding, as displayed by his ability to single-handedly infiltrate and catch Lucis completely off-guard by disguising as a guard and destroy all the Wall amplifiers on his own and later on by dramatic and utter victory in his mission to get Noctis to become the True King. Not only was he able to remain completely unsuspected by Noctis and his retinue up until he murdered Luna, at which point he still was able to casually avoid danger by aiding them convincingly enough to force them to accept it, but despite sights of his unusual behavior that would normally baffle Nifleheim, none of his subjects ever suspected his allegiance. He is also an exceptional politician, displayed by his constant success in managing Niflheim's political operations, even being successful in having Lucis sign the false treaty. An exceptional scientist, with his knowledge of Daemons and the Lucian Caelum, he was able to greatly advance the Magitek technology used by Nifleheim, being the one who began the creation of the Magitek Infantry, an army of automata, by using Miasma itself rather than Solheim's technology and also the key advisor to Verstael's success in it by revealing Daemonified humans would be the best, as well as also the Wallbreaker Wave, which he knew enough to create devices able to either activate or render it ineffective and somehow could negate its effects on himself. He also is an accomplished driver, claiming that although his red car isn't as advanced as the Regalia, he has never failed to reach his location with it, and was able to guide Noctis and the retinue to the location of the Meteor of the Six. Although he claims to worry the party may be able to pass him, it has been seen he could stay ahead even if they try to outrace him for a reasonable length of time.
Upon revealing the powers at his disposal, Ardyn proves to be among the most powerful beings in the entire Final Fantasy series, with Verstael openly stating he has a power greater than a God and proven by how he subjugated Ifrit. Regis and Somnus were also awed by the immense power Ardyn possessed, calling him a true monster. Retaining the "power of kings" available to his bloodline, Ardyn is capable of warping and phasing through solid matter, which he effectively uses in combat to easily dodge attacks and quickly cover distances to attack. He can teleport silently, as he warps unnoticed to stop Noctis from clashing with Ravus. He can summon his weapons from thin air and uniquely can actually craft weapons he has not possessed yet and hurl them with explosive force, as he creates countless weapons and hurls them at Ignis with the force necessary to destroy the majority of Zengatus Keep. Although he never became King, Ardyn is still capable of wielding the personal weapons of the Kings of Lucis, which he can uniquely do without suffering drain, and has all thirteen royal arms. Ardyn is the only one able to wield the Rakshasa Blade as it was his personal arm and never entombed. The other two weapons unique to him, a large red scythe and a knife, may also be his personal arms, as he does briefly make use of the scythe in Armiger and manifests the knife in the same manner used to summon his weapons. His most powerful ability derived from being a Lucian Caelum is Armiger, which greatly increases his strength, allows him to wield the Royal Arms and fly, and he can maintain it without strain. Although quite capable of using the same moves used by Noctis in Armiger, as he easily mimics the style used by Noctis in their duel, Ardyn also displays a wider style of ways in using Armiger, able to hold them behind his shoulder to act as wings to fly, consolidate the arms into a shield, send them flying across an arena and have them return to him at will and transform them into a swirling circle as well as hurl them at several directions. He has also shown the capability of erecting the same Wall barrier used by the kings of Lucis, although it is tainted due to the Scourge, which was nevertheless powerful enough that it took all the Astrals combined to dispel it.
Once blessed with the power to heal those afflicted by the Starscourge by absorbing the plague into his body, which he used on many people to save them, he has since become an unholy incarnation of the Starscourge and can spread it to any degree he desires. Henceforth, he kept all of Eos in the eternal night until his true death. He can control Daemons to his will, turn others into daemons and assimilate them to increase his power and gain their memories and can even revive the dead into ghastly mockeries of their former selves and force them to fulfil the command he gave them. He exudes Miasma at will and unlike other Daemons, he is near-entirely immune to the effects of sunlight as his body repels the usual discomfort done to others afflicted by the Scourge and even being in a room of strong artificial daylight only causes him minor discomfort. He can even turn into Miasma for high-speed movement and flight as well as to teleport. He can also enter a transformation where he gains a great increase in power by surrounding himself entirely in daemonic darkness. He can freeze time for a temporary period and transform into others and with his acting skills, it is near impossible to distinguish the difference between him and the one he disguised him, and he can even also transfigure others visage into whatever he wants as well as cause others to experience illusions as well as communicate with others as an omnipresent voice.
Ardyn is capable of powerful magic, such as striking down bolts of thunder, conjuring a huge blizzard, causing explosions and summoning a swirling blaze of flames, all without needing Magic Flasks or having to collect elemental energy from deposits. Although he is corrupted, he can still cast a holy-elemental spell, smiting with sacred energy. He also has the ability to cast a powerful Meteor spell, raining down a barrage of meteorites upon Insomnia. Ardyn focuses on casting the most powerful of dark-elemental spells, such as blasting dark energy to knock others out, empowering his sword strikes with it, ejecting dark energy from his sword to hit multiple enemies, focusing a spiral of dark energy and detonating it, causing explosions by slamming dark energy upon his targets and even conjuring a twister of dark energy.
An exceptional fighter, Ardyn is capable of wielding all forms of the melee royal arms and even unarmed combat with superb ease and skill, able to unleash quick barrages of relentless attacks difficult to block, but also being considerably apt with the ranged royal arms as well. His fighting skills is shown to be easily able to outfight many of Lucis' guards, take on Noctis as the True King and even gain the upper hand, pinning him down in their first round and only being, still barely, bested in their final duel due to being in a rage, outduel his brother, although at the time Ardyn had already been powered by Starscourge and therefore he had the advantage of having superior physical prowess, and stalemate Ignis powered by the Ring of the Lucii using only hand-to-hand combat.
Being the Starscourge incarnate has made Ardyn immortal. He also cannot feel pain, as he boasted to Noctis, and seemingly cannot be harmed by regular means and temperature differences have no effect on him, as not only didn't he freeze in Shiva's presence, he also was completely unharmed by the attacks of Gladiolus and Prompto, only pretending to be knocked down to mock them. It seemed that only the Ring of the Lucii and the Astrals have the power to harm him but being an immortal, even they cannot destroy him and the only thing that can is the power of Providence. His seeming inability to feel pain is such that even when on the verge of death and later indeed dying, he never showed any pain and remained somber and lubricious to the end.
Ardyn is the final boss of both the main installation and Episode Ignis of Final Fantasy 15. However, there are several differences in his style. One thing in common is that he is immune to any status ailments and strong against all elements.
In the main game, it is wise not to underestimate Ardyn as he is very relentless and quick in melee combat. He often attacks before Noctis could and can easily break his defences so you should dodge before countering and he is also good at blocking. Both Elemancy and the Power of the Kings are at Ardyn's disposal but he doesn't use Elemancy often, although when he does use it, it is at high levels so watch out. Ardyn excels in quickly warping and phasing through your attacks and the benefits granted by the Royal Arms to Noctis is also available to Ardyn so best suit your pattern. Fortunately, Ardyn doesn't use Armiger while Noctis can but the unfortunate thing is that the Royal Arms can be wielded by Ardyn without being damaged. He can also charge up his sword with darkness, which can dish out punishing damage with a single hit so you really have to dodge it. Ardyn prefers using beam and twister attacks though but they are by no means not deadly, especially the twister. The second phase involves you in whatever health you have left clashing with Ardyn in the air using Armiger. Ardyn has returned to full health and he uses the same attacks with Armiger as Noctis but that doesn't make him any less formidable as he can quickly surprise you so don't get cocky just because you know all Noctis could do with Armiger. The final phase is a lot easier, as Ardyn is in a rage and tired heavily and clumsily attacks you. Although his attacks are surprisingly a bit stronger, he is a lot less swift so Noctis can just easily defeat him at this point. When you trigger the last quick-time event, you have to quickly time your attacks with the Royal Arms or else Ardyn will recover.
In Episode Ignis Verse 1, Ardyn only warps, uses hand-to-hand combat and dark energy manipulation techniques. He can summon Magitek Infantry to aid him but they are of no problem. It is an unwinnable battle and you just have to last 4 minutes or drain Ardyn's health to below half and the fight will end. The Verse 2 version is a lot stronger, however, as Ardyn, while no longer using element spells, retains his dark spells and has a far more formidable penchant in warping and using Armiger compared to the one faced by Noctis. To add further difficulty, Ardyn has gotten a few more Armiger moves and unfortunately loves to showcase it. He does still use some of the same techniques Noctis uses with Armiger but he has gained the ability to consolidate Armiger into a shield and have them fold out behind him like wings, which makes him able to float around, making it troublesome as he can easily stay on the air while Ignis has no ability to reach him and has to do it the hard way. It should be noted that he at times also flies around without Armiger, although at the point, he would often just warp-strike. In addition, Ardyn also has a tendency to make his Armiger fly about the arena before pulling them back to him, which can be quite hard to repel as it is a swift two-way attack easily able to catch you off-guard. At times, Ardyn will manifest a large scythe that deals formidable damage, although his pattern is just twirling and slashing the scythe so you can counter it without that much difficulty.
|“||Unharmed by the Light. The Chosen King indeed. Allow me to regale you with a tale. In an age long past, an incurable scourge ravaged mankind. A tiny menace that twisted men into monsters, the likes which you've seen. In Lucis lived a savior that could cure the afflicted. His body would come to host myriad daemons. That countless lives be spared. But a jealous king, one not yet chosen by the Crystal, ostracized and demonized this healer of the people. Making a true monster of him. I gave you my name earlier, but you should know that it was not the name given to me at birth. Ardyn Lucis Caelum is my proper name. You'll never guess whose name Izunia was. Noct, killing you as a mortal will bring me scant satisfaction. Claim the Crystal's power. Arise as its champion. Only once the Crystal and King are no more... can I know redemption. Come back soon. I shall keep your friends company until you are ready.||„|
|~ Ardyn revealing his true identity to Noctis as the latter is forced to sleep 10 years into the crystal.|
|“||You think ten years is a long time!? It is nothing to me! I have lived in darkness for ages!||„|
|~ Ardyn during his Boss Battle.|
|“||Well, lets have it then. You and your crystal... against all that I have become.||„|
|~ Ardyn before phase 2 of the battle.|
- Ardyn is one of the few Final Fantasy villains who does not transform in the final battle.
- Ardyn is one of the very few Final Fantasy villains to succeed in his goals and so far the only one to get away with it fully, as his goal from the beginning was to die and find peace, with the secondary intention to destroy his and the Oracles bloodline, all which succeeded as Ardyn fulfilled the Prophecy by allowing Noctis to kill him, therefore destroying his lineage and finally granting the Accursed the end he had longed for so long, with his murder of Ravus and Luna also eliminating the bloodline of the Tenebrae Oracles and giving Ardyn both his revenge over the two bloodlines that caused his downfall and peace.
- This "honor", however, also goes to Bahamut, whom the "Dawn of the Future" novel had just recently proven to be the true villain of the FFXV universe, at least in the context of the game's original ending in itself, as "Dawn of the Future" is meant to unveil an offshoot of the canon timeline, or perhaps even imply the game's ending as a "bad dream sequence".
- His appearance when shedding daemon blood is most reminiscent to that of the stage face paint of the rock artist Alice Cooper.
- It has been implied from how The Mystic clearly wanted his brother to be free from his tormented existence, that Ardyn may not haveen totally lying on how his brother dethroned him out of jealousy. It can be assumed that his exposure to Starscourge had fractured his memories to an extent or just altered them to make him its pawn.
- It is later confirmed that Somnus never wanted the throne and only decided to oppose Ardyn because of how Ardyn had been corrupted by the Starscourge and the Gods telling him to ascend. However, it was how Somnus acted, ruthless and even at times taunting, that eclipsed all of Ardyn's witnessings of Somnus' remorse for striking down his lover, sadly calling her foolish, and begging for forgiveness even, therefore making Ardyn unjustly deem Somnus as having betrayed him.
- Episode Ardyn confirms that the Scourge has influenced him to lash out at his brother and this is only worsened by the fact that he is unable to differentiate the memories of those he absorbed. However, Somnus is at fault for this and even admits this toward the very end of the Episode. Somnus later chooses to truly redeem himself in Dawn of the Future by aiding in the destruction of Bahamut, the true aggressor.
- Dawn of the Future also reveals Somnus is merely a pawn in Bahamut's game as he had been favored by the War God for their similiarities and Bahamut told Aera the truth for Somnus to know and correctly anticipated Somnus would turn against Ardyn.
- Ardyn's grudge against the gods for their exploitation of him also recalls Kratos in the God of War series, and they both succeed in killing Bahamut and Zeus respectively. One key difference is that Ardyn was already technically dead where he struck down Bahamut's spiritual half, while Kratos was still alive whien killing Zeus.
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy XIV
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time
Final Fantasy Chrystal Chronicles: My Life as a King