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This land is fit for but one thing...purification! ...And for that would I gladly offer up both body and soul.
~ Nael van Darnus

Nael van Darnus, also known as The White Raven, is the main antagonist of the original Final Fantasy XIV, the second online game in the Final Fantasy series. She is also a major antagonist in its sequel, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Taking on the identity of her late brother, she is the Legatus of the VIIth Legion and a descendant of the Allagans. She is also responsible for making Dalamud fall into Eorzea in an attempt to purify it. She wears armor that covers her body and face. As a weapon, she uses a halberd called the Bradamante.

Biography

Early Life

Born in Garlemald as Eula Darnus, she was the eldest daughter of House Darnus and the heir to her family's secrets of the Allagan Empire. Eula dreamed of becoming a chirurgeon, a regular position of a Garlean lady of her parentage. She followed her elder brother, Nael, into the imperial army, but her dream died when Nael returned home mortally wounded on what he claimed to be an ill-conceived mission their father ordered. Eula was unable to save her brother and, stricken with grief, she assassinated her father, whom she blamed for Nael's death, making it appear as if he perished to a disease.

Eula took the name and life of her late brother and rose to power, becoming Legatus in his stead. The first thing she did was to publicly execute their father's officers and guard. Eula's transformation was so complete, she believed herself to actually be the true Nael. Rumors started to spread through Garlemald that Nael had had a hand in his father's demise. However, where most Garlean leaders would condemn such behavior from their elite, Emperor Solus zos Galvus saw in Nael potential from someone who would let nothing stand to reach their goals.

Project Meteor

Ten years before the events of the original Final Fantasy XIV, Nael started to investigate Allagan knowledge to solve the problem of subjugating rival nations. After restoring an old Allagan artefact kept by House Darnus, Nael saw it was capable of interacting with the lesser moon Dalamud. Nael wanted the empire to study the lunar transmitter to recreate the forgotten spell Meteor. The emperor approved the project, and the artefact was studied in the near-eastern Bozja Citadel, where the first attempt to summon Dalamud took place. The experiment wiped out the Citadel and its inhabitants. Nael witnessed the event from afar, and it damaged her already broken sanity even further.

After Bozja's destruction, Nael tried to explain to the emperor that the incident had advanced the project, and that the fall of Dalamud could be controlled so it wouldn't be a threat to the empire. However, the emperor cancelled Project Meteor and deployed van Darnus's VIIth Legion to stations in the Eastern theater.

In the year 1572, of the Sixth Astral Era, after the empire's failure at the Battle of Silvertear Skies, Nael van Darnus, now commonly known as the White Raven, returned from the eastern theater, claiming to have discovered a way to control Dalamud's fall. Nael wanted to summon the red moon on Eorzea to purify it from the massive beastmen rituals to summon their primals. Though the project wasn't seen with good eyes by many in the empire, the emperor resurrected it, unaware of Nael's true plans with the moon, as she was the only one to know what Dalamud would actually bring.

Final Fantasy XIV

After being sent to Eorzea with her VIIth Legion, the White Raven visited some camps to warn adventurers about false prophets known as Archons after knowing how a man called Urianger was foreshadowing the upcoming Calamity. Nael met the adventurer, and together, they defeated Ifrit]], asking for their name for being victorious over a primal. After claiming the changes on Dalamud were of imperial doing for the land's betterment, Darnus saw that the adventurer and their party were not interested in joining the imperial cause. The Legatus drained the energy of a close aetherial gate using Bradamante and shot it towards the party, who escaped before the unleashed energy destroyed the gate.

The adventurer used the echo to view a memory of the past of a Gridanian soldier, whom Darnus had silenced for eavesdropping in a conversation between herself and Gaius van Baelsar. Nael attempted to convince Gaius that conquering Eorzea was not enough to stop the primals. The forbidden Allagan magic Meteor should be cast upon the land to purge them. At first, Gaius disagreed due to the unpredictable nature of Dalamud. However, Nael claimed to have found the three tomestones needed to fully control the Meteor spell.

In the aftermath of Garuda's defeat, Darnus revealed that the primals' deaths were the key to accessing Dalamud's power, while letting the adventurer live long enough to destroy the other primals.

Soon after the construction of the imperial fortress Castrum Novum, the lunar transmitter needed to call Dalamud upon Eorzea was placed inside of it and activated. Due to the efforts of the Grand Companies of Eorzea and several adventurers, the device was destroyed. Filled with rage, Nael defeated the group and was engulfed in crimson light, the power of Dalamud itself, and claimed to not need the lunar transmitter anymore. Nael continued her attack, leaving the adventurer group wounded before walking away through the flames (in a manner similar to Sephiroth), saying she still had the means to purify Eorzea with the powers of Dalamud.

The Grand Companies tracked down Nael's location on Rivenroad, a floating ruins from Ancient Allag near Camp Glory. An attack group was sent where Nael was using the floating island as an altar. Before the party arrived Rivenroad on the Enterprise, Nael sent fiery rocks raining from Dalamud to the countryside.

Hoping to annihilate the adventurers as sacrificial offerings for Dalamud, Nael confronted them. After a fierce battle, Nael was defeated and bathed in Dalamud's light for more power, losing what was left of her mind and becoming Nael Deus Darnus, a being of pure hatred and destruction. Even owning Dalamud's power, Nael was defeated, and, as her last gesture in life, she manifested her devotion to the red moon before her body became pure aetherial energy and disappeared into wisps of light, leaving her gunhalberd Bradamante behind.

Aftermath

After her death, Nael's shadow haunted the adventurers, appearing in their nightmares, in which she killed both Garlean and Eorzean soldiers, including the Circle of Knowing and the leaders of the Eorzean Alliance before killing the adventurer him- or herself. Also, in the final days of the Sixth Astral Era, hordes of powerful monsters started to appear throughout Eorzea, even within the city-states. Some of these creatures were Voidsent copies of the fallen Nael van Darnus.

The efforts of the adventurers who defeated Darnus were in vain, as Dalamud continued its descend until primal Bahamut broke free from the inside at the Battle of Carteneau, unleashing the widespread destruction known as the Seventh Calamity over Eorzea.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Nael Deus Darnus was resurrected when the nearly-destroyed Bahamut took her essence and recreated her to serve him as a guardian within the Binding Coil. Five years after the Calamity, Darnus's gunhalberd Bradamante was found by Gilgamesh, but it was stolen by what Gilgamesh described as "a demon bird," referring to Nael. Gilgamesh found a fake copy, while Nael returned to the Binding Coil of Bahamut with her Bradamante.

During the adventurer's assistance in Alisaie Leveilleur's investigation in the first part of the Binding Coil of Bahamut, he or she witnessed Darnus, alongside the late Archon Louisoix Leveilleur, observing the head of Bahamut together, but the White Raven's figure seemed to go unnoticed by Alisaie.

When the adventurer and Alisaie arrived in the Outer Coil, they encountered Nael waiting behind the entrance gate. Nael revealed that the "original" Nael van Darnus perished on Rivenroad upon the eve of the Calamity, and that her body was but a shell into which Bahamut put his influence, naming her Nael Deus Darnus. Nael warned the party that should they venture deeper in the Second Coil, they would have to answer to her. Nael then jumped off the ledge of the entrance and disappeared into the depths of the dungeon.

Upon arriving to the Holocharts, Alisaie and the adventurer were surprised to see Dalamud in the sky and found themselves at Rivenroad's floating island, where Nael awaited them. Telling them that their presence was an insult to her original self's resting place, Nael threatened to kill them. Alisaie knocked the Legatus's helmet off with a Ruin spell, revealing Nael's face as a white-haired woman bearing the Garlemald birthmark, showing that Bahamut based Nael on her original appearance as Eula when recreating her. Neal revealed the events leading to her resurrection, being an artificial being created by Bahamut with elements from her memory taken from what remained of the "original" Nael. In maddened glee, Nael transformed into a wyrm-like monster and summoned Bradamante to fight the adventurer.

Following her defeat, Nael regained her will, though her affected sanity made her confused and unable to recognize her own body. Alisaie believed that said female body was a manifestation of "his" memories from someone from the past. After seeing that she was enslaved by Bahamut, Nael cursed her weakness for succumbing to the very power that she had been trying to purge from the world, but she made it clear that Project Meteor had been solely her idea. Once Alisaie introduced herself as Louisoix's granddaughter, much to her surprise, Eula warned her to steel herself if she wanted to learn the truth that awaited her, and not crumble under the weight of her despair as Nael did as a child. Louisoix suddenly arrived and slayed Nael with a spear of light to silence her. In her final moments, Nael saw an image of Dalamud, the symbol of the plan that had ultimately cost her everything, includnig her life, but still marveled at its beauty.

Defenders of Eorzea

During the events of patch 2.3, Defenders of Eorzea, it was revealed that the ancient Allag's most destructive weapon, Omega, was buried below the Carteneau Flats. Raubahn Aldynn speculated that the reason that Nael chose that place to bring Dalamud down five years ago was to ensure the destruction of the only weapon that could have stopped her.

Appearance

Eula Darnus was a Garlean of high stature with fair skin, light-blue eyes, and long, white hair. As a pureblood Garlean, she possesses a "third eye" on her forehead.

As Nael van Darnus, she wears a silver full-body armor styled after Near and Middle Eastern clothing with a horned, skull-like helmet concealing her face, all similar to Garlean armor. The upper part of the helmet has a design similar to a white raven with open wings, creature which inspired her nickname. When influenced by Dalamud, and later by Bahamut, Nael's eyes glow crimson. She carries her gunhalberd on her back.

After becoming Nael deus Darnus on the Holocharts, she turns wyrm-like due to Bahamut's influence, getting wings and claws. Nael still keeps a humanoid part, showing her original face and a female body structure. She has purple skin and wings with golden details. She wears a tiara, and her eyes are red, while the Garlean eye is glowing.

Personality

Believed to be a man by everyone, Nael is ruthless ,even to her own people, in part because of her descent into insanity, becoming an imposing figure and feared by many. She considers all beliefs as pagan ideals, showing devotion only to the lesser moon Dalamud, believing that the empire's movement against Eorzea is of its divine intervention to purge the world. Nael considers herself the world’s salvation, seeing a potential light from nothingness.

Despite belonging to the Garlean Empire, Nael draws no distinction between friend nor enemy when met with opposition, looking down on everyone from high and seeing them all as fools, even her own emperor. Nael enjoys theatrical mannerisms, using noble gestures while talking to those she considers inferior.

Powers and Abilities

Being one of the Garlean Legatus, Nael is one of the empire's most accomplished warriors. She is a skilled Lancer, having access to two of its strongest Weapon Skills. Her gunhalberd can drain the aether from an aetherial node and shoot it as high energy beam. Darnus can teleport short distances without needing to attune with an Aetheryte.

After being powered by Dalamud, Nael gained the ability to absorb other beings' life energy and to animate stone golems. During the final battle, she could alter the aether flux around Rivenroad to capture fragments of Dalamud and attract them to it as small meteors. By activating the ruins' magicked glyphs, she gained the ability to unleash a devastating Megaflare over the entire area.

Trivia

  • Nael is the third main antagonist of a mainstream Final Fantasy game to be female, following Ultimecia from Final Fantasy VIII and the Cloud of Darkness from Final Fantasy III.

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Final Fantasy XIV
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Final Fantasy XV
Ardyn Izunia | Iedolas Aldercapt | Glauca | Ravus Nox Fleuret | Loqi Tummelt | Caligo Ulldor | Verstael Besithia

Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light
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Dark Lord

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Cu Caspel | Galdes

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Llednar Twem | Queen Remedi

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