(Major Final Fantasy XIII Spoilers!)
Most people that follow the Final Fantasy franchise know that Final Fantasy XIII is actually part of a larger mythology that includes other FFXIII-branded games such as Final Fantasy Versus XIII and Final Fantasy Type-O. These are wholly unique storylines that exist in different worlds with different characters, but still exist within the same mythos. However, not a lot of people know the true depth of this storyline. It is perhaps the single deepest and most complex Final Fantasy plot to date. And that includes the FFVII series of stories and the Ivalice mythos of FFTactics and FFXII (among others). So, I’ve decided to break it down and try to piece together what is known about the Fabula Nova Crystallis myth and how it is applied to the games so far. Since it’s quite lengthy and complex, this is going to be a fairly long blog, but it will make the storyline complexity of FFXIII seem much more robust and interesting.
So, without further ado, I present to you…
In The Beginning…
On January 18th, 2011 at a special Square Enix event, the team revealed a video that acted as an introduction to the origins of the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythos, which can be found online.
The story begins with a family feud of sorts between two powerful deities. The mother, Muin, and her son, Buniberzei. Buniberzei laid waste to his mother, essentially killing her and banishing her to the Invisible World. However, he soon believed that the world in which he now had power over, had been cursed by his mother shortly before her departure. In order to protect it, Buniberzei created the first two fal’Cie: Pulse and Etro.
Pulse’s purpose was to search for the entrance to the Invisible World, to find Muin and put a stop to her curse upon the world. Etro was meant to assist Pulse, but Buniberzei accidentally created her in the image of Muin. Buniberzei feared Etro, and gave her no powers, instead choosing to make a third, replacement fal’Cie: Lindzei. Lindzei was treated as a protector of Buniberzei, perhaps from not only Muin, but Etro as well.
Shortly after, Buniberzei entered a state of Crystal Stasis (much like that of the l’Cie once their Focus was fulfilled) and waited for the time when the door to the Invisible World was discovered. Pulse and Lindzei, in an effort to expand and protect the world, began to create countless fal’Cie and l’Cie to keep the world safe.
Meanwhile, Etro, with a sense of abandonment and confusion, decided to kill herself over the despair of being forsaken by her creator and left alone. The myth says that the blood of Etro gave way to mankind upon the planet. In an abstract sense, they were created in the image of Etro, a being who was created, only to die. Etro’s own self-given mortality gave way to the mortality and frailty of humanity. After her death, Etro awoke in the Invisible World.
The myth breaks away to explain the essence of the Visible World, and how it is in fact itself torn between a Visible and Invisible realm. However, there is an important balance between these two worlds, and if that balance is disrupted, the entire world would be destroyed. Muin was very aware of the destiny of the planet, but was now powerless to stop it. The goddess was slowly being consumed by “Chaos” a mysterious matter in the Invisible World. The “Chaos” is said to be created as a result of Buniberzei’s creation of the fal’Cie. Etro, heeding Muin’s dying words that she must protect the balance of the world, began implanting small pieces of the Chaos into the humans she had grown to see herself in. This Chaos became known as “heart”.
The humans grew and began worshiping the fal’Cie as Gods. Pulse as their creator, Lindzei as their protector, and Etro as the essence of death. However, Pulse and Lindzei soon disappeared. The humans were left with Chaos in their hearts, maintaining the balance between the two worlds unknowingly, as Buniberzei slumbered.
Pulse, Cocoon, And Barthandalus’ Plan (Final Fantasy XIII’s Story)
Late in Final Fantasy XIII, the fal’Cie Barthandalus reveals to us his plan. He intends on awakening the “Maker”, the creator of this world. That very Maker is in fact, Pulse. It is spoken of in the Analects in Final Fantasy XIII that Pulse, known as the Hallowed Pulse, provided peace between the fal’Cie and humans in the early times. There is also a chance the term “Maker” also refers to Lindzei, who created Cocoon. Which would explain why fal’Cie of both Cocoon and Gran Pulse (who the early humans named after Pulse) wish to reunite with the Maker.
Analect VII: Hallowed Pulse
It was the Great and Hallowed Pulse who, seeking to expand divine domain, parted the chaos and fashioned realm within; made fal’Cie, and charged them with this world’s completion.
The fal’Cie, anxious to please the hand that shaped them, labored devotedly at the task they had been given. They made l’Cie of men so that they, too, might be able to aid the greater cause. Men, in turn, offered praise and prayer to Hallowed Pulse, naming their great land in honor of its architect. Yet still the architect departed.
- —On the Nature of Fal’Cie
The people of Gran Pulse had begun to believe that the Maker had traveled beyond what is known as the “Door Of Souls”. This is the gate between the Visible World and the Invisible World (also known as the land of the dead).
Analect XII: The Door of Souls
When our earthly vessels meet their end, the souls they housed must leave this world. Would the path of their migration not be the same one as our departed gods? Must they not pass through the same doorway the Divine employed to reach that place that lies beyond?
If this is the case, it stands to reason that, should a great many lives at once be cut short, a flood of souls would surge through the aforementioned portal. The Door would be thrown wide, and perhaps we might even glimpse the gleaming light of Divinity beyond.
- —On the Nature of Fal’Cie
In the final Analect in Final Fantasy XIII, the origin of Barthandalus’ plan may be revealed. It is stated that a great sacrifice is the key to opening the Door of Souls. Essentially, if the door can be opened, the Maker may be able to return to the Visible World and bring in a new era of peace and true perfection, similar to that which existed before the disappearance of Pulse and Lindzei.
Analect XIII: Fabula Nova Crystallis
Children of Hallowed Pulse scour earth, searching substance for the Door. Those of Fell Lindzei harvest souls, combing ether for the same. So have I seen.
The Door, once shut, was locked away, with despair its secret key; sacrifice, the one hope of seeing it unsealed.
When the twilight of the gods at last descends upon this world, what emerges from the unseeable expanse beyond that Door will be but music, and that devoid of words: the lamentations of the Goddess Etro, as She sobs Her song of grief.
- —Author unknown
(Speculation/Rumor: It has been brought up the potential of Barthandalus himself being the “Unknown Author” of a few of the Ancient Analects. This is unconfirmed, and arguments have been made on both sides that make a lot of sense.)
Basically, the fal’Cie wish to be reunited with the Maker, and believe that in order to do so they have to break open the Door of Souls by presenting enough human souls, or Crystal Energy, to keep the gate open wide enough, and for a long enough time, to call the Maker back. The decision is reached that the best way to do this would be to destroy Cocoon, killing the millions of people who live there. The best way to do this would be to kill the fal’Cie Orphan who exists, more than likely created by Lindzei, to hold Cocoon in place above Gran Pulse. However, the fal’Cie themselves cannot do this, so they use their ability to create l’Cie to achieve this goal for them.
The War Of Transgression, Ragnarok, And Etro’s Interference
500 years prior to the start of Final Fantasy XIII, there was a great war between Gran Pulse and Cocoon known as the War of Transgression. The people of Gran Pulse were eventually lead to believe that Lindzei himself was more of a devil figure, luring the people of Gran Pulse to Cocoon for selfish means. The belief that Cocoon was evil led to the beginning of the war.
The idea of Lindzei as a devil figure is also mentioned in the web novella series Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero – Promise. In this, it is told that Lindzei may have actually destroyed Gran Pulse while creating Cocoon, using chunks of it to make the floating paradise. It is also revealed that Orphan’s final form is very much so modeled after Lindzei himself
During the course of this war, two l’Cie were chosen by Pulse fal’Cie to become Ragnarok, a powerful being who’s purpose was to destroy Cocoon (unknown to the people, this was an attempt at the plan to open the Door of Souls and reunite with the Maker). Those two l’Cie: Oerba Dia Vanille and Oerba Yun Fang. These two were supposed to do it together, but the kind, gentle nature of Vanille prevented her from doing it. Fang, insistent to fulfill her Focus, took on the burden alone.
It was then that the “Goddess”, or Etro, took pity on the humans she had felt so attached to, and drained the power from Ragnarok, which caused the creature to only leave a scar on the surface of Cocoon. She then forced both Vanille and Fang into a Crystal Statis without their Focus ever being fulfilled. Barthandalus awakes both Fang and Vanille and uses them, along with the other l’Cie of FFXIII, to attempt the plan again.
In The End…
In the end of Final Fantasy XIII, you are forced to fulfill Barthandalus’ plan and destroy Orphan. Upon doing so, Cocoon begins to fall. However, Vanille and Fang realize the only way to stop this is to fulfill their true Focus and become Ragnarok, in his full form (which is the combined form of Vanille and Fang that was never achieved during the War of Transgression). They proceed to fulfill their Focus by smashing into Cocoon, and calling upon the very lifeforce of Gran Pulse to form a rock pillar encased in Crystal to hold Cocoon in place. This is possible a form of Crystal Statis brought on by the completion of the Focus.
Etro, Chaos, And Final Fantasy XIII-2
Lightning is seen in the trailers being dragged away by Chaos right after the end of FFXIII. She finds herself in Valhalla, a myserious realm representing death and chaos, dedicating herself to serve and protect the Goddess Etro from Caius, the main villain of FFXIII-2. This perhaps means that Valhalla itself exists within the Invisible World, and that is why Etro is more prominent than anything else. Lightning’s roll as protector of Etro would be incredibly important than, because Etro’s destruction would throw off the balance of the Visible and Invisisble World’s, causing the destruction of everything.
Why is Caius trying to destroy Etro? Does he intend on destroying the entire world? Did Etro choose Lightning, or was it an accident that she is there. Why does she reach out to Serah, leading to the events in FFXIII-2? These are questions that weigh heavily as we wait for FFXIII-2’s release here. Since the game has been released in Japan,the plot of the game and these answers is available online. However, I’m not going to read them, so they won’t be written here. If you’re interested in the next part of this story, you’ll have to find out on your own!
Final Fantasy Type-O and Final Fantasy Versus XIII
Originally titled Final Fantasy Agito XIII and planned to be released as a mobile phone game, they soon changed the title to Final Fantasy Type-o due to it actually having little to connect to the Final Fantasy XIII mythos. So this seems to hint that it’s not quite as connected to the Fabula Nova Crystallis story as originally thought. It will be released sometime in the near future for PSP. It has been released in Japan,and the only notable mention of the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythology comes in the form of a mention of the “Gods of Pulse” and the fact that many of the armies in the game actually use l’Cie. So, the fal’Cie and l’Cie seem to only be a small part of the over-all story, hence it’s being somewhat more disconnected than the rest.
The other missing link has yet to be released. Final Fantasy Versus XIII takes place in an entirely different world with different characters and story. However, it is tied into the Fabula Nova Crystallis though the means of mentions of the Goddess Etro and even the concept of fal’Cie. The idea is that the fal’Cie themselves may even appear and play a roll in the story at some point.
Point Of Interest: The main character of Final Fantasy Versus XIII is named Noctis Lucis Caelum. If you pick apart the word “l’Cie”, it’s believed to be a anagram of the term “Ciel”, the French word for “Sky”. The root of this word? The Latin word “Caelum”. Is this a coincidence or could Noctis have some kind of tie to the concept of l’Cie? Perhaps even being one himself? Until the release of Final Fantasy Versus XIII (which just about all Final Fantasy fans are quite excited for) we will just have to speculate.
So as you can see, the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythos has run itself quite deep through various mediums. Three games, a few novellas, and some other official materials. With an important piece of the overall story not yet finished, we have yet to see how deep and connected this mythology truly will be. But from what we’ve seen so far, it would appear as though these worlds all exist under the guidance of the fal’Cie.
This leaves us with a few important questions that may or may not be answered soon: Will Buniberzei ever awaken? And what really happened to the fal’Cie Pulse and Lindzei? We’ll have to wait and see.
Hopefully, this opened up your eyes to the true depth of the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythology and the plot of Final Fantasy XIII.