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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|
|“||Am I alive? Does it matter? Perhaps not. Nothing matters - none of it. Not the blessed gods above nor the accursed kings below. To hell with them all! All that matters is I have my revenge. I will spread this scourge across the earth, lure out this "King of Light" and kill him. Then the entire world of Eos will be drenched in the darkness of despair for time eternal.||„|
|~ Ardyn's final quote in Episode Ardyn.|
Ardyn Izunia (real name: Ardyn Lucis Caelum) is the main antagonist of Final Fantasy XV. He is a shrewd, humorous, intellectual, and sometimes charming 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 the late Keiji Fujiwara in the Japanese version, and Darin De Paul in the English version. Both his Japanese and English voice actors reprise the role in Dissidia Final Fantasy NT.
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.
Although having earlier intended to destroy Lucis, it seems that Ardyn had not completely lost his attachment to Lucis, as though he was more than willing to set it ablaze before, after calming down, he seemed to have abandoned this goal, though apparently due to having been overthrown by Somnus, this became an unhealthy fixation. He slightly laments the destruction of Insomnia and was visibly pleased after managing to finally sit on the throne of Lucis, which he later on admitted to have been enjoying as he became the "King" of Lucis even if only temporarily as he should have been. He even calls Lucis his kingdom proudly in a tone that seems to be genuinely relishing in how he had managed to obtain what should have been his rather than just mocking Noctis and brags on how he has taken over Insomnia to Noctis. It was shown that Ardyn did not destroy Lucis even though he only needed the Citadel to be intact and left it mostly untouched, only having Daemons around it. Despite his resentment of the Lucis Caelum lineage, it seems that this doesn't extend to hating his relation to them, as he proudly admits that he is also a Lucis Caelum upon revealing his façade and even acknowledges them as being his family. He was also clearly provoked 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.
- 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 fiancée. 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 with 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. On one hand, he knows and sees that Noctis is a good person and has nothing to do with his millennia of suffering (and even admits as such). On the other hand, he nonetheless holds great spite and resentment toward 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's Retinue: Ardyn has nothing personal against Ignis, Gladiolus, or Prompto, as none of them had any role in his suffering (something that he also ackowledges), but he has no regard for them, either. 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, deception, 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.
|“||Chancellor of Niflheim. Ardyn rose to power by introducing magitek infantry to the ranks of the imperial army, and has since amassed political power at the emperor's side. An aloof manner shrouds the chancellor in mystery.||„|
|~ Ardyn's official description.|
|“||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' bloodlines, 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 Final Fantasy XV 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 have been totally correct 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 similarities 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 when killing Zeus.
- Ardyn twisting Emperor Aldercapt into an evil, power-hungry monarch is very similar to how Kuja twisted Queen Brahne into an evil, power-hungry monarch herself in Final Fantasy IX.
- However, their reasons for doing so differ. Ardyn needed Aldercapt to declare war Noctis and Luna's respective kingdoms, Insomnia and Tenebrae, in order to kill King Regis and thus ensure Noctis will ascend to becoming the True King, also killing Luna, so he could kill Ardyn, whereas Kuja needed Brahne to provoke and perpetuate a war to increase the flow of souls between Gaia and Terra using the many deaths that said war would cause.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King
Final Fantasy Dimensions
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
Final Fantasy Tactics