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Emet-Selch is the main antagonist of Final Fantasy XIV's Hydalyn Saga, being a major antagonist in Final Fantasy XIV, a supporting antagonist in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood, and the main antagonist of Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers. He is one of the unsundered Ascians and was a leader of the convocation of fourteen. Emet-Selch has played a major role in bringing about the rejoining in order to restore the star to its unsundered state and bring about the return of Zodiark.
Although he is best known as Emet-Selch, he has had many names over the ages. He was first known to the Warrior of Light as Solus zos Galvus, Founding Emperor of Garlemald and thought to be nothing more until his reveal as an Ascian in the story patches of Stormblood. Later when the Warrior of Light confronts and fights him, Emet-selch reveals his true name, Hades.
Emet-Selch mostly takes the form as he was when Solus zos Galvus, albeit young. He has white skin, Golden Eyes for his pair of eyes and a third eye, typical of all pure-blooded Garleans, half-white and half-black hair. He dawns a black robe with white fur linings. His underclothes seem to be red with red sashes and red garment. He wears white gloves and black boots.
As an ancient, we only see him as a non-descript spirit like ancient with a brown communal robe and a bluish, expressionless face.
As Hades, he takes on the form of a large figure, resembling a monstrous looking Ascian with black detailed robes and a covered face. He has shoulder pads that look like Garlean Royalty Shoulderpads worn by Emepror Varis. He has four arms, two normal and two giant, one of which holds a large Wand-like object made of Crystals of Darkness. The other is free and unleashes powerful spells.
Emet-Selch's personality is reflective along his eternal life, waiting tens of thousands of years for his plan to finally bear fruit. He is very sarcastic, often mocking people for repeating the same mistakes he's seen over the years and watch as they come to the same conclusions, such as when he talks about the many Warriors of Light attempting to defeat the "evil" Ascians. Emet-Selch is very manipulative, often acting friendly, as he did to try to find common ground with the Scions. Emet-Selch gives just enough information to make his victims act but not enough for them to overcome him. He much more a schemer than a intervener, as oppossed to his comrade, Lahabrea to which he only acts when most beneficial and oppurtune, calculating the perfect moment to strike and turn the tides in his favor. Despite all this though, Emet-Selch isn't totally evil and most of his crimes are a result of his lost humanity, either due to the pain he suffered, the pain of the state of the world at the hands of Hydalyn, and/or because of him being temepered by Zodiark. When he loses, he accepts defeat honorably and only wishes that his worst fears that caused him to commit such abhorent acts would not come true.
Emet-Selch was born as Hades and grew up in Amaurot. He eventually became a member of the Convocation of Fourteen, fulfilling the seat of Emet-Selch, from whence he'd wear as his primary name for eternity. Emet-Selch was well-known among the ancients and mentioned quite often as seen in the recreated Amaurot, seemingly taking a leadership and domestic role among the Convocation. During The Final Days, he was one of the main supporters in summoning a savior who would restore the star's destructive trend.
As The Final Days fell onto and destroyed Amaurot, Emet-Selch and the other members of the Convocation summoned Zodiark, the most powerful being that creation had ever made. Zodiark, being a creation stronger than the Ascians, tempered the Convocation, including Emet-Selch to be his devout followers. Emet-Selch and the rest of the convocation also made the difficult decision to sacrifice nearly a third of their people to sustain Zodiark with the aether needed to restore the planet to habituality. This cost Emet-Selch his friendship with Azem, another member of the convocation, who felt enough Sacrafice was made for this so-called savior. Azem left the convocation and was branded a traitor. Their seat was removed from the convocation, and their Soul Crystal was to be destroyed, however, in secret Emet-Selch made a Soul Crystal of Azem's memories.
As time passed, the Amaurotians became divided, and a faction split from the main group to oppose the Convocation. Seeing Zodiark as a threat, they summoned Hydalyn, a light-aspected counterpart to Zodiark, to keep the latter in check. The two primal deities fought until Hydalyn landed a decisive blow of Zodiark, shattering him and the world into fourteen pieces, The Source and its thirteen reflective shards. This also split the souls of the grand majority of ancients, stripping them of their strength, intelligence, and powers. Emet-Selch was one of the very few who survived, along with fellow convocation members, Lahabrea and Elidibus, who whom they established the Ascian organization, dedicated to find a way to undo the ravishing caused by Hydalyn, and to find their former comrades fragmented souls, making them Ascians, and to add numbers to their cause.
The Ascians attempted to find a way to undo the Sundering. Their experiments started with introducing Dark-aspected either on the thirteenth shard, logically seeing if it would naturally counter Hydalyn's light. Tragically though, this did not turn out how they wanted to and Darkness overan the thirteenth shard, turning it into an uninhabitable world later known as the void, where Voidsent would emerge from.
The first successful attempt later came when the Ascians manipulated the fifth shard to have an excess of wind-aspected, and cause simultaneous calamities in the fifth and the source, causing the fifth to collapse on itself and be absorbed into the source. The result caused several cataclysmic Tempests in the Source, and later the event became known as The Calamity of Wind. After subsequent Calamities, such events became known as the Umbral Calamities in the source, the Ascians though, they were known as The Rejoining. With one successful rejoining, Emet-Selch and the Ascians set out to cause more until all the shards were finally rejoined
Emet-Selch played a major role in the Allagan Empire during the Third Astral Era. He supposedly monitored them from their founding all the way until Emeperor Xande activated Dalamud, causing the Syrcus Tower to sink into the ground and cause devastating Earthquakes, the event know as the Fourth Umbral Calamity which spelled the end for the Third Shard.
The Sixth Astral Era
Emet-Selch founded the Garlean Empire, calling himself Emperor Solus zos Gavlus. He would declare the world in need for Salvation, seeing many other nations, technologically inferior, as savages plagued with an aray of problems. He would declare Garlemald the savior of the world, and enacted this through force rather than peace, saying that governance by Garlemald would be the only way to free the ignorant people "savages" from their supposed misery. Through this, The Garlean Empire conquered many neighboring lands near and far from Garlemald itself. Solus especially had a hatred for Summoning. He was disgusted by the deserted region of The Burn in Othard, an Aetherless land that was ruined by a primal.
Of course, all this was in preparation to cause another Rejoining. While Solus's declarations seem noble and good on the surface, they all come from egocentric ideals about Garlean superiority. On top of this, Garlemald's "salvation" included totalitarian oppression. Conditions in Imperial provinces were often miserable for non-Garleans. Although issues of instability were fixed, they were only replaced by issues of too much stability. This served to rouse up hatred for the Garleans across the world of Hydalyn, as a means for possible outlets for a rejoining.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Garlemald's actions towards causing a rejoining bore fruit when Gauis Von Baelsar lead an invasion into the region of Eorzea. The Eorzeans, knowing the hypocrisy and cruelty of the Garleans, would do everything in their power to prevent a Garlean victory. For ten years Garlemald fought the Eorzean Alliance. At the end of the Sixth Astral Era, Garlemald confronted The Eorzean Alliance at the Cartenau Flats, where Dalamud, affected by the Meteor Spell, another project of the Garlean Empire, would make impact. Dalamud collapsed as its prisoner, Bahamut, escaped and ravaged the land, bringing about the Seventh Umbral Calamity and rejoining the tenth shard.
As the realm recovered, Solus grew old in his mortal host. He was becoming weak, which also weakened the Garlean Empire, causing them to withdraw from Eorzea as times were uncertain. Although Lord Baelsar invaded Eorzea independently five years later, The Empire itself grew instable by day as Solus didn't name a successor to the throne.
Solus died, releasing Emet-Selch back into the rift where he'd resume his identity as an Ascian. His time as Solus had charmed him though, perhaps viewing it as the height of his power as an Ascian, and would assume the look of a Young solus for the rest of his time. He never chose a successor, intentionally causing strife and chaos in the Empire. This resulted in a Civil War which disrupted the empire for a time. Eventually Varis zos Galvus, Solus's mortal son, took the throne and continued his father's ambitions.
Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood
After the liberation of Ala Mhigo, The Empire began focusing efforts on invading Eorzea, who grew stronger and resisted their grasp by their minute. To assist in this, Solus appeared in front of Varis and revealed to him the truth of the Garlean Empire, it's creation to usher the process of the rejoinings. This fueled Varis's anger at the Ascians and fueled his determination to also cause rejoinings, not to aid the Ascian cause, but to the belief that the people of the source would become stronger as more rejoinings happened, a phenomenon observed by the Ascians. Eventually Varis thought to use this strength against the Ascians to claim the world for man. Varis was unaware that Solus was planning to sacrifice the life on the source to bring back the ancients sacrificed to Zodiark.
It is revealed that Varis helmed a project studying cloning, and that the experiment was practiced on Solus. The result was many lifeless bodies for Solus, which while biologically function, lacked any soul. Emet-Selch took advantage of this by using the clones as a biological host anytime his body came to mortal harm. Emet-Selch revealed that he hated jumping to different bodies and morphing them, claiming it was too much effort. Varis finished one of his father's projects, Black Rose, a gaseous weapon that poisoned those who breathed it in by halting their aether flow. The gas was subtle and of unimaginable deadly potency. Varis planned to use this not only to crush the Eorzeans but to also cause the Eight Umbral Calamity, as was Emet-Selch's own plan.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers
In the future, Garlemald was being pushed back by Eorzea, finding themselves outmatched by the combined might of the five city states plus Doma of the Far East. In both desperation and in accordance to his plan, Varis released Black Rose across Eorzea. The Weapon's potency was unexpectedly increased by the abundance of Light-aspected aether leaking into the Source from the First. Not only did this serve to massacre the soldiers on the front, but the light aether caused Black Rose to create and massive cataclysmic Cloud which covered Eorzea and Ilsabard. This spelled the end for The Eorzean city-states and Garlemald both. Life was nearly destroyed in these reasons and society was in utter chaos as two of the three continents suffered. With Varis's plan backfiring, Emet-Selch and the Ascians had successfully caused an eighth rejoining, one which also would destroyed their biggest enemy, The Warrior of Light would perish in the chaos.
For once though, Emet-Selch was out-schemed and outdone in feats. The people of Eorzea didn't completely break, and helmed by Garlond Ironworks, a project took form to try and save The Warrior of Light and to undo the calamity. The Crystal Tower and G'raha Tia were awokened from their slumber, and were sent through time and space to the First, 90 years before the eighth rejoining, which was much earlier than intended, however the differences in flow of time was not forseen by G'raha Tia. The Source's history was changed with G'raha Tia building The Crystarium, a Havan for victims of the dying First and meant to focus on rebuilding and the future in the wake of the first's own Calamity, The Flood of Light. G'raha Tia, sometime after the liberation of Ala Mihgo, would summon the Warrior of Light into the First to attempt to save the first, which would foil any use of Black Rose causing a rejoining. Emet-Selch was quite impressed by this, not even himself having the knowledge for a mortal to be transferred between shards unscaithed. He began to take measures to ensure the Calamity would not be undone though.
After the defeat of Titania, the Lightwarden of Il Mheg, he makes himself known the Scions and introduces him as Emet-Selch. He takes no action to interfere with them and instead acts to try to find common ground, as part of his manipultive schemes. He often follows the group, observing their every move to make sure the first stayed on the path to ruin despite the Scion's resistance. He first follows the Scions to the Rak'tika Greatwood. The group is surrounded by the Night's Blessed after their leader, one of the Scions accidentally summoned by G'raha Tia, Ysh'tola mistakes The Warrior of Light for a Sin Eater due to them absorbing two Light Wardens. Emet-Selch declares that the group had bored him and disappeared on the spot into a dark portal, concerning the Night's Blessed even more than they already were and making matters worse.
He rendezvous with group after he was caught by the Viis, who protect the ruins of Ronka, napping on a tree. He was taken to the Viis' village. There he learned that Ysh'tola had casted Flow to escape the crumbling floor of an ancient Ronkan temple in the wake of a battle against Eulmore's Ranjint. She was trapped into the Aetherial Stream and there was little chance she would emerge and Survive. Emet-Selch offered to save her did and with the Warrior of Light's assistance, reached into the Aetherial Stream and plucked her from it, saving her life.
After slaying the Lightwarden of the Rak'tika Greatwood, the Scions and Emet-Selch met back at The Crystarium with G'raha Tia, posing as The Crystal Excarch. They debated on whether to go after the Lightwarden of Amh Araeng or Kholusia. Eventually Minfillia votes to go to Amh Araeng, specifically to the place where Minfillia of the Source stopped the Flood of Light, and would hope that she would awaken her true powers to be able to locate The Remaining Lightwardens. The group heads to Amh Araeng, but Emet-Selch stays behind. When asked why by The Crystal Exarch, Emet-Selch claims the region situated closest to The Empty, is too saturated with light that it makes him suffer. Emet-Selch then proceeded to question the Exarch on the feat of summoning The Warrior of Light, revealing his part in building the Allagan Empire and the lack of their power to trascend time and space. G'raha Tia does not reveal the technology discovered in the first as tensions rise between the two scheming men.
After the Lightwarden in Am Araeng is slain, the Scions head to Kholusia were they discover that the King of Eulmore, Lord Vauthry, is part Sin Eater. After freeing Eulmore from him, the Eulmorans, in their guilt, decide to help The Scions by helping them reach Vauthry. While the Scions rally all of Norvrandt to create a massive Talos that would act as a pathway to the know floating Mt. Gulg, where Vauthry made his stronghold, Emet-Selch confides to the Warrior of Light that he would want to make Common Cause with them. He hints that he knew the Warrior of Light's unsundered self and continues to try and recruit them as an Ascian. This does not work however and Emet-Selch would be forced to go down the darker path, to strike at the best time. When The Warrior of Light defeats Innocence, Vauthry's new form, and absorbs his aether, it proves too much even for them, and starts to turn into a Sin Eater. G'raha Tia's plan comes to fruition where he plans to take all the light aether from the sin eaters and warp to the aetherial stream, where he and the aether would perish. However, Emet-Selch shoots G'raha Tia with a gun, stopping the spell. The Warrior of Light continues to turn into a Sin Eater as Emet-Selch laments the disappointment in the Warrior of Light unable to contain the aether of all six Lightwarderns, even though he likely planned this so long as the warrior of Light remained his enemy. He declared how The Warrior of Light would become a god among Sin Eaters who would plunge the world in everlasting despair until the rejoining happened. Before that though, Emet-Selch told the Warrior of Light to come to his layer in the Tempest after all other life had been consumed by them. With that he disappeared with the Exarch, hoping to squeeze out every last piece of knowledge he lacked. Just barely did the Warrior of Light survive with Ryne able to temporarily stablize their aether.
After a period of despair, the Scions resolve themselves to meet and stop Emet-Selch, if nothing else. With help from the fae Bismark, they traveled to the Temepest, a place under the ocean near Kholusia, and eventually find Emet-Selch's lair, a recreated Amaurot, made by the power of creation, serving a similar purpose that glamour would. Emet-Selch created this Amaurott out of pain of missing his old home. This Amaurot was set in a time before The Final Days had reached it. The Scions learn of the ancients' history, their peaceful and near utopian culture, the fear that caused the end of the world, how The Ascians were in reality just fighting for their own surivial, to fight for those they can yet save, their fallen brothers and sisters who might be able to come back. This caused the Scions to question the morals and motives of the previously thought as only evil Ascians. The Scions eventually find Emet-Selch in the Convocations building, the capital, and Emet-Selch once again express disapproval, this time about The Warrior of Light's arrival being early, not as a beast when the first was consumed. The Scions pleaded to Emet-Selch, trying to convince him that the people of the world were worth living, that they could carry on the legacy of the Ancients. Emet-Selch disagreed though, claiming that they were unworthy of living. Due to their flaws and much weaker power, Emet-Selch didn't even see the people of the world as Truely alive. This is all in despite that most of his gripes with humanity as it stood were hypocritical, as The Final Days themselves proved the ancients possessing the same weaknesses Emet-Selch saw in the Source's humans. Emet-Selch Claimed that the people of the source would forget Amaurott inevitably, as much of other history was forgotten beyond the ancients. In reality though, Emet-Selch new that in order to see his fallen people again, that no one but the Ascians could be suffered to live, and such, the inevitable clash between two forces began. Emet-Selch tested the Scions character by having them experience The Final Days. After they prevailed against the monsters though, Emet-Selch deemed them still unworthy, knowing that they couldn't live in peace as long as both ambitions remained strong. His power was too strong for the Scions to battle though, not with a weakened Warrior of Light who began to succumb to the Light again. Any efforts the help the Warrior of Light were thwarted by Emet-Selch though, and with little effort at that. The Warrior of Light was about to Succumb when from within, Ardbert, the Warrior of Light from the first, joined their soul with The Warrior of Light, making them stronger and able to withstand the light. The Warrior of Light also gained the strength to dispel the corruption from within themselves, eliminating the threat entirely. G'raha Tia then appeared, escaping whatever prison he was held in, and used the final Ace up his sleeve, the power to call in the remaining pieces of The Warrior of Light's soul from across the shards. Together, the warrior of light and their seven otherselves battled Emet-Selch, where he took upon his true name and form, Hades. In the end though, the Warrior of Light and the Scions prevailed. They used White Aracite to trap Hades's soul and with their power conjured a blade of light that pieces through Hades's soul. The group found themselves ontop of a building, surfacing from the ocean, in the midst of the true Amaurot. Emet-Selch accepted defeat quietly, not finding fault in the Scion's actions. He made one plea, that the ancients would not be forgotten.
Post-Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers
After The Warrior of Light defeated Eldibus in Amaurott, They found various soul crystals throughout the city, each saying different things. By a chance encounter with the created Hythlodaeus, it was revealed these were Soul Crystals of the Convocation, one of which likely included Emet-Selch's own crystal and the one that Emet-Selch had created for Azem, largely hinted at being The warrior of Light's unsundered self before the Sundering occured.
During the Final Battle against Eldibus as The Warrior of Light incarnate, Eldibus had pulled the Warrior of Light into The Aetherial Rift, where Ascians had to retreat each and every time their mortal vessel perished without an immediate vessel to posses. The Warrior of Light uses Azem's soul crystal to bring about the power to escape, after which an ancient emerges from the rift and pulls out the Warrior of Light. Elidibus seems shocked to see who it is and before the ancient dissolves into aether, they use their hand to motion Emet-Selch's iconic handwave. After the fight, Ysh'tola theorizes that the ancient was Emet-Selch, wishing to relieve Elidibus the pain of being alone, and knowing that the Ascians had lost.
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